Magazine article The Spectator

Shrek 2

Magazine article The Spectator

Shrek 2

Article excerpt

Cinema

Earthbound fairytale

Shrek 2

U, selected cinemas

Concluding my Shrek rave in this space three years ago, I wrote, 'I saw it with a four-year-old who can't wait for Shrek 2. Bring it on.'

Well, they finally did, and a very strange affair it is. A couple of weeks after the original Shrek, my four-year-old turned five and announced that she wanted a Shrek party. No problem, we said - mainly because when a kid wants a theme party you drive to the store and load up with Shrek cups, Shrek plates, Shrek hats, Shrek balloons, Shrek streamers, the whole lot costing, oh, a buck ninety-eight tops. Or, alternatively, Harry Potter cups, plates, hats. Or Finding Nemo. Whatever movie you dig. If you want your kid to have a Michael Moore party, they've got Fahrenheit 9/11 plastic cups with Halliburton 'pipeline' straws and no one gets a slice of the cake because it's all been creamed off by Dick Cheney and the Saudis in a secret deal signed in Riyadh in 1979.

But when we got to the store there was no Shrek stuff and no plans to release any for months. So, with the kid threatening to sue for emotional distress, we wound up having to make our own Dreamworks merchandising, with the missus staying up overnight baking the big Shrek cake, doing a big Shrek piñata, taking plain balloons and painting Donkey and Princess Fiona on them, etc. Three years on, the stores are full of Shrek 2 tie-ins, but my sense is - despite a boffo opening weekend in America - the movie leaves youngsters a little cold.

We begin where we left off. Shrek the trumpet-eared green ogre (voiced by Mike Myers in his marvellous whiny Scots) and Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz, sounding a bit half-hearted and contractually obligated) have wed and returned to the swamp. Meanwhile, Prince Charming (voiced by Rupert Everett) has got to the castle where she was being held and broken into her tower to deliver the kiss that will restore her to life, only to find that when he got there the boudoir was bare. In the land of Far Far Away, King Harold (John Cleese, trying hard not to sound too John Cleeselike) and Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews, clear as a bell) assume that their beloved daughter Fiona is now married to a dashing prince and so invite the newlyweds to a big bash at their palace.

Shrek suggests their Majesties will have trouble accepting Fiona now that she's a jolly green ogress. But Fiona assures him that her parents aren't like that, and off they set. Donkey (Eddie Murphy) comes along for the ride. …

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