Reminding you that Shrek 2 came out ten years ago, may I present our our newest contributor, the Seattle-based musician Allie Coy. Currently performing some of her Harry Potter wizard folk at the very-much-sold out Accio Burlesque! A Burlesque Tribute to Harry Potter, you can check out her Facebook fan page and her YouTube page.
I remember going to the movie theater with my grandmother to see Shrek 2 when I was twelve years old. I also remember really enjoying the movie—it was exciting, hilarious, heart-warming, and stupid in all the right ways. When I signed up to review it, I was PUMPED. “I don’t even know why I haven’t watched it a second time in the past ten years! I must have just spaced.” For a decade? I don’t know. Almost as soon as I loaded it up on my laptop, I was slapped with realization.
I wish I could say that Shrek 2 inspired, enlightened, and changed me. Honestly! I want to look all of you in the face and tell you, “Shrek 2 is the greatest achievement in filmmaking history. Everyone else can go home now.” It hurts, just a little, to admit it out loud, but here we go.
Shrek 2 was so bad, guys. So bad.
Ah, okay. The world didn’t end. My entire childhood didn’t collapse on itself with a tired, dejected sigh. Somewhere, in the wibbly-wobbly mess of time, 12-year-old Alex is having a little niggling sensation in her brain as she walks into a movie theater in Texas. She’s expecting a fun, happy-go-lucky movie filled with adult jokes that fly right over her head. Unfortunately, Little Alex, that’s not going to happen.
In this installment of the Shrek series, Shrek and Fiona are surprised with an invitation to visit the Kingdom of Far Far Away. Her parents, the King and Queen of the kingdom, are throwing the newlyweds a ball to celebrate their marriage. All hell breaks loose when they realize that their little princess has married an ogre and has permanently become an ogre herself. In the midst of all their fighting, it is also revealed that the King had made a deal with the Fairy Godmother in which Prince Charming would get Fiona’s hand in marriage and become the heir to the throne. The King struggles between allowing his daughter to be happy and losing his own “happy ending,” or upholding his end of the bargain.
Although the plot was solid, it seems to me like a lot of the potential for a fantastic movie was wasted. I can imagine a group of men and women sitting around a conference table and saying, “Yeah, yeah. Well, they liked the ‘Do you know the Muffin Man?’ joke in the first movie, so we can just toss that in again. I mean, the kids won’t remember!” It was packed full of pop-culture references that have since lost their edge—bland, bland, bland.
I was surprised by the one-dimensional newer characters, specifically the antagonists. Prince Charming and Fairy Godmother were not the villains that everyone loves to hate. They were obnoxious, uninteresting, and all-around bad writing. But you know, looking back, I don’t remember a time that I ever enjoyed those characters.
Despite this, I still had a relatively good time watching this movie. Was it the intoxication? Maybe. Probably. I laughed at the silly running-through-the-field-of-flowers scene in the beginning. I cooed at Puss in Boots, with his cute green eyes and feathered hat. And of course, let’s not forget this scene:
Before I delve into the next part of this re-view, it’s necessary to explain a few things about myself. I was born in Puerto Rico and lived there for a few years before moving to Florida around the age of 6 or 7. I recall having an incredibly overactive imagination as a kid and I would often tell my friends ridiculous stories of crazy things that had never happened. (“My mom opened her door in traffic and a guy riding a bike slammed into the door and I gave him my sweater and held it against the big hole in his chest so he wouldn’t bleed to death!”) There were also times that I couldn’t distinguish real life from dreams. Now, as an adult, I sometimes struggle with childhood memories. Did I imagine that my first kiss was in a tree house? Did one of my best friends really live in a massive house with a loft for the play room? Did I really enjoy Shrek 2 in theaters?
Watching this movie after so long allowed me to analyze my memories. It gave me the near-ability to become two different people at the same time—young, pre-pubescent Alex, who always laughed at fart jokes, and young-adult Alex, who only laughs at fart jokes when no one is listening. (Actually, I always laugh at fart jokes. Always.) I marvel at the fundamental ways in which I have changed and how that affects all different aspects of my life and personality. It consistently blows my mind that as my knowledge has expanded, I have gained and lost so many various parts of myself. And yet, I am essentially still that twelve-year-old girl.
I no longer think the Muffin Man joke is wet-your-pants funny. My humor has evolved and morphed into some weird, twisted thing that only slightly resembles my tween humor. I don’t think Fiona is the most beautiful character I’ve ever seen, which means that my perception of what is aesthetically pleasing has changed. And man, Donkey is the most annoying character in the series. I’m not sure what that means. Maybe I’ve become less tolerant of random outbursts of noise.
So yeah, Shrek 2 is a terrible movie. But you know what? If I was given the opportunity to watch it again in the future, I’m not convinced I would turn it down. Humans hold on to a lot of baggage, both physical and emotional. We keep little things—memories, songs, movies, books, items—and hold them dear to our hearts because they remind us of a time gone by. And through these things, we can temporarily live in the past once again. Maybe I won’t be watching this movie again in the next six months. Maybe not in the next year, or the year after that. But I’ll always giggle at Antonio Banderas singing “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” And that’s worth something.
Last but not least, I have to admit that I will always, always love this song.