Everyone’s favourite big green ogre returned for a sequel to 2001’s animated smash . Shrek 2 picks up where the first movie left off, with Shrek (Myers) and his new wife, princess-turned-ogre Fiona (Diaz), going off on their honeymoon. On their return to Shrek’s swamp, they are greeted by pal Donkey (Murphy) and an invitation for the newlyweds to visit Fiona’s parents, the King (John Cleese) and Queen (Julie Andrews) of Far Far Away. Of course, Fiona’s parents aren’t aware that she has married an ogre, let alone become one herself, so Shrek’s visit to his in-laws was never going to go smoothly. But throw in a Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) who believes he should have married Fiona, a meddling fairy godmother (Jennifer Saunders) and an assassin tabby cat named Puss In Boots (Banderas) and it looks like a recipe for marital disaster.
Packed with in-jokes and movie references to keep adults amused – Spider-Man and From Here to Eternity are alluded to in the first five minutes, while the land of Far Far Away is a terrifically realised facsimile of Beverly Hills, complete with stores such as Versarchery (for Versace) and Baskin Robinhood – and they come so thick and fast they almost, but not quite, overpower the plot. Many of the (often very funny) references will probably fly over the heads of junior members of the audience, but there are enough universal jokes, adventures and even songs (Saunders belting out a perfect ‘Holding Out for a Hero’) to keep them thoroughly enchanted.
Best of all, of course, are the characters. Myers, Diaz and especially Murphy once again deliver terrific vocal performances, but their talents are almost eclipsed by Saunders, who is just perfect as the domineering fairy godmother, and the wonderful Banderas, spoofing his own Zorro and managing to make an animated moggy somehow sexy in the process. Only the ill-advised idea to dub two of the voices for the UK release (Jonathan Ross replacing Larry King, and Kate Thornton dubbing over Joan Rivers, despite the animation concerned looking exactly like Rivers) spoil what is a truly fun and funny family film.
Is Shrek 2 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...