The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Cinephiles: ‘Shrek 2’

There’s no such thing as a perfect movie and there is such a thing as a perfect sequel
Shrek meets his in-laws for the first time. Too relatable, am I right? (Photo from Dreamworks)

Everybody knows “Shrek.” Even if they haven’t seen any of the movies, Shrek has been everywhere since he hit the scene in 2001. The revolutionary film parodied the Disney flicks that had been dominating the box office for nearly seven decades at that point.

There were (and are) official and unofficial toys of Shrek and his friends. There was Shrek clothes, Shrek backpacks, Shrek posters, Shrek Kid Cuisine. If one felt so inclined, they could even purchase a Shrek Buddha. And none of this is touching on the weird meme culture he has.

It’s probably deserved, to be fair. The original “Shrek” movie is fun for the whole family with jokes for kids and adults alike. It turned the common tropes of the fairy-tale genre on its head so well that a new Academy Award was created for the movie. 

So where do you go when you’ve achieved the level of success that “Shrek” did?

Home, of course.

The first “Shrek” movie ends with the titular ogre rescuing Princess Fiona. They kiss, and Fiona assumes the form of an ogre, seemingly permanently. Who can forget the iconic line of “But you ARE beautiful” in this scene?

Shrek 2’ begins with their honeymoon, followed immediately by Fiona receiving a royal summons to see her parents. As princess of the kingdom of Far Far Away, now that she’s married, she has to introduce her husband to the court and her people.

The citizens and royal family, especially King Harold, of Far Far Away are shocked that the princess and her husband are both ogres. The movie’s plot boils down to the king trying to “solve” this problem and Shrek trying to get his in-laws to accept him.

This film is just loads of fun. Part of its enjoyment is the unpredictability of the humor. The most famous assassin in the realm ends up just being a cat. There is a McDonalds-style medieval drive-thru, and the kid’s toy is a battleaxe. Evil minions discuss unionizing.

Honestly, I could exceed my word count just by listing all of the funny moments from this movie. From memory, no less. That does it no justice, though, so I just recommend you watch it.

Who could forget the soundtrack? Iconic covers of songs like “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Livin’ La Vida Loca” live rent-free in my head to this day. As the original did, “Shrek 2” does a great job of curating modern pop hits for the movie’s purposes and making them fresh and entertaining.

The genius of “Shrek 2” comes from building on what the first “Shrek” had already established. Shrek and Fiona went through their arcs separately in the first movie. Now they have to work together to figure out how their married life will work.

Will they rule Far Far Away or will they simply live in the swamp their whole lives? Shrek has no interest in ruling, nor do the people seem to be excited for him to take the throne. Fiona struggles to draw the line between her duty and desire.

This is a movie about overcoming the adversity that society places upon you, even more so than the first one. Shrek and Fiona are both incapable of achieving their goals alone, instead relying on the bands of misfits they befriend along the way.

Look, if you haven’t seen “Shrek” or “Shrek 2,” you’re really doing yourself a disservice. Both movies are masterpieces that are culturally relevant over 20 years later whose messages still hold water and serve as excellent vehicles of parody. No fan of movies should miss either film. 

Tolbert can be contacted at [email protected]. Send him Shrek memes.

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