Double bill of the post-modern computer-animated comic fantasy. In the first film, Shrek (2001), reclusive ogre Shrek (Mike Myers) lives in a swamp on the edges of a fairytale kingdom. The vain yet diminutive ruler of the land, Prince Fahrquaad (John Lithgow) decides to streamline his kingdom by getting rid of all the fairytale characters, who promptly decamp to live in Shrek's swamp. Faced with these unwanted tenants, Shrek strikes a deal with the Prince, promising to find and return with Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), marriage to whom will finally confer on the Prince his kingly status. In return, the Prince promises to evict the various characters living on Shrek's land. Shrek's task is further irritated by the unwanted company of a tirelessly wise-cracking Donkey (Eddie Murphy). In the sequel, Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek returns from his honeymoon with Princess Fiona to find an invitation from Fiona's parents, King Harold (John Cleese) and Queen Lilian (Julie Andrews) asking the newlyweds over to the Land Far, Far Away for dinner. On their arrival, they find that the King and Queen are less than pleased to see their daughter hitched to an affable green ogre, and looking rather the worse for wear herself compared to her former dazzling royal brilliance. When reminded by a conniving Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) of an ancient deal to match Fiona with her son, the vain and pompous Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), Shrek's new in-laws and their accomplices pull out all the stops to rid their kingdom of Shrek and restore their daughter to her former beauty - including hiring the services of notorious swashbuckling ogre-slayer Puss-in-Boots (Antonio Banderas).
Both of the hit animated movies in one package.
Full of verve and wit, Shrek is a computer-animated adaptation of William Steig's delightfully fractured fairy tale. Our title character (voiced by Mike Myers) is an agreeable enough ogre who wants to live his days in peace. When the diminutive Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) evicts local fairy tale creatures (including the now-famous Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio and the Gingerbread Man), they settle in the ogre's swamp and Shrek wants answers from Farquaad. A quest of sorts starts for Shrek and his new pal, a talking donkey (Eddie Murphy), where battles have to be won and a princess (Cameron Diaz) must be rescued from a dragon lair in a thrilling action sequence. The story is stronger than most animated fare but it's the jokes that make Shrek a winner. The PG rating is stretched when Murphy and Myers hit their strides. The mild potty humour is fun enough for the 10-year-old but will never embarrass their parents. Shrek is never as warm and inspired as the Toy Story films, but the realistic computer animation and a rollicking soundtrack keeps the entertainment in fine form. Produced by DreamWorks, the film also takes several delicious stabs at its cross-town rival, Disney. --Doug Thomas
In Shrek 2, the newlywed Shrek and Princess Fiona are invited to Fiona's former kingdom, Far Far Away, to have their marriage blessed by Fiona's parents--which Shrek thinks is a bad, bad idea, and he's proved right: the parents are horrified by their daughter's transformation into an ogress, a fairy godmother wants her son Prince Charming to win Fiona, and a feline assassin is hired to get Shrek out of the way. The computer animation is more detailed than ever, but it's the acting that make the comedy work--in addition to the return of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz, Shrek 2 features the flexible voices of Julie Andrews, John Cleese and Antonio Banderas, plus Jennifer Saunders as the gleefully wicked fairy godmother. --Bret Fetzer
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