The original Shrek lost a lot over repeat viewings. People frequently quoting the parfait line didn't help, either. Despite the backlash, Shrek still is a good, fun film, one that promised advanced, intelligent animated films from a studio not named Disney. Shrek 2 comes after the success of Finding Nemo -- which helped Pixar break off from Disney -- and while the film cannot touch Pixar's last offering, it's a pleasant (if sometimes tedious) sequel to the 2001 original.
This time around, Shrek (Mike Myers) goes with Fiona (Cameron Diaz) to visit Fiona's royal parents (Julie Andrews and John Cleese), who think she is now a normal girl who married Prince Charming (Rupert Everett). As it turns out, she is an ogre who married an ogre. This plot would have been simple enough, but problems arise when more characters and subplots are thrown into the mix. Donkey (Eddie Murphy) is back for the sequel, but also thrown into the mix are Prince Charming, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) and The Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders). They are involved in a scheme to get Fiona to love and marry Prince Charming. There is also some nonsense about the King's own past, as well as a few potions that various characters consume.
The plot is complicated, at least for an animated flick geared at kids and teens. Instead of moving at Shrek's quick clip, the film sags as it tries to establish its plot. The unnecessary plotting produces boring stretches, and the film is missing many of the original's funny asides.
When Shrek 2 clicks, however, it impresses. The film looks just as good as the original, with many crisper details. The humor is not as bountiful, but when the film manages to capitalize on the inherent humor of fairy tales and the medieval time period, it makes its mark. Banderas' Puss is the best of the new characters, a Zorro-like cat who delivers the film's best line in an inspired COPS parody.
Shrek 2 ignores the simplicity and rapidity that made Shrek so enjoyable, but what the film does not ignore is the original's diverse range of humor. Whether it's a fart joke for the kids or a Starbucks gag for the adults, Shrek 2 has something for everyone ... just not as much as before.