June 02, 2004

Shrek II, a mini-review

Shrek II: not as clever as the first. As pointed a social skewering? I think so, perhaps too much so. In fact, I think my entire problem with the movie, aside from the over-obvious nature of many of the jokes, was that its message was writ too large. Dare I say it? Cartoony, even.

But it was fun nevertheless. My favorite character: Puss in Boots. I loved when he got caught licking his butt. So cat-like. Or maybe when he got those big sad baby animal eyes a la those velvet paintings from the ‘70’s.

I also relished Land Far, Far Away in all its over-commercialized Rodeo Drive splendor. Beverly Hills meets Disneyland, that faux European gloss with palm trees and “Farbucks” on every corner. An easy target, maybe, but something I come up against on a weekly basis, that kind of supercilious attitude, in that selfsame Beverly Hills locale, though without quite so many horse-drawn carriages.

Okay, and I liked the glimpse inside the young Fiona’s diary. Cliché-ridden but it had the flavor of what I’d liked about the first movie: a willingness to re-examine the fairy tale elements and give them a new twist. The diary showed the princess as just another pubescent girl with a rich fantasy life.

So. Things to like. Not quite so much the larger story, with its inevitable messages of family and being true to yourself, which could have resonated but somehow didn’t. But many bits along the way did delight. And maybe that’s enough.

Posted by Tamar at June 2, 2004 08:59 PM

I loved Shrek 2, mostly because the parents weren't one dimensional villains. And because I laughed heartily all the way through.
I saw the message much the same way you did, but a friend of mine had a very different take on it. He saw it as a parable of gay love, ie, what happens if you try to bring your gay lover home to the folks and they realize that you're not the person they thought you were, and the loss of all those hopes and dreams.
I hadn't seen it that way myself, but I thought it was an interesting perspective.
What do you think?

Posted by: darby at June 3, 2004 04:18 AM

That's funny, I saw it as a parable of interracial love. Especially when the king said "So, I suppose any grandchildren I might have would be...?" and Shrek responds "OGRES!"

I liked the movie, but my 4.75-yr old didn't laugh once the first time she saw it. And afterward she asked me "What was that movie *about*?"

Yes, we've seen it twice. After seeing it once I really wanted to see it again with my sister, who I felt sure would point out all the pop culture referenced I had missed.

Posted by: Rebeca at June 3, 2004 12:53 PM

I'm inclined toward Rebeca's take. It's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, only instead of being black, he's green. And very large. The gay thing doesn't work for me bec. it's not about the parents changing toward their daughter even though she's now Ogreish. It's just Shrek they have a problem with.

I agree about the parents, Darby. I liked that Mom was a voice of calm reason and I loved the ending with the dad, though it made me wonder about certain bedroom logistics in the future.

Posted by: Tamar at June 3, 2004 10:36 PM

I'm going with the interracial marriage insinuations. But, always one for the reconcillatory ending, I kept wondering when the mother would KISS the frog and turn him back into her husband!?! Didn't happen! - and then if we're talking "bedroom issues" did anyone else have just a little problem with the thoughts of relations between donkey and the dragon? I guess the kids didn't and that is all that mattered.

Posted by: Nancy at June 5, 2004 04:07 AM