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Didn't much care for the first one. It was fluff. Fun fluff, but still, fluff.

I liked its emphasis on loving the person for what they are, rather than forcing them to conform.

I liked the clever jabs at Disney.

But I was bothered by the unnecessarily crass humor and bland pop-culture references, not to mention the poorly chosen and distracting pop songs.

Shrek 2 has all of the things that bugged me about the first one, but the strengths are much MUCH stronger, and the movies pros far outweigh its cons. I was delighted to find it quite satisfying. It gets funnier as it goes (Puss in Boots is GREAT!!!) and the finale is one of the most frenzied and inspired I've seen in some time. (It borrows a whim from the finale of The Muppet Movie, but it does so with brilliant ideas of its own.)

I guess that's why I wasn't so bothered by its constant references to other movies. This time, it didn't feel like it was TRYING to be cool ("Oooh! Let's copy that shot from The Matrix.") Instead, the references to other films were very very clever and made complete sense with what was going on. There's a Mission:Impossible reference that was brilliant.

Oh... Shrek was a good-humored jab at all of Disney's obvious foibles. Shrek 2 is much sharper, and hits the bulls-eye with every dart it throws at Hollywood and its plastic-surgery/cosmetics culture.

I don't want to REVIEW the film... just to let you know that you can look forward to it rather than dreading it.

I'll stop there. My review will be up at CT on opening day.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I notice they've packaged the DVD of the original film with a bonus DVD that takes place on Shrek & Fiona's honeymoon -- I believe it supposedly begins Right After the first movie and ends Right Before the second movie. So what I'm wondering is, does anyone know if there is any overlap, and if so how much, between this bonus DVD and the honeymoon CD that was given out for free to those who saw Sinbad in theatres last year?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Saw it this morning. Liked it quite a bit. Jeff, you're right, Puss'n'Boots IS fantastic -- I wanted more of him. (But then, I've always been a cat person.) I also thought the scene with the moat and the drawbridge (I'm trying not to give away details here) was hilarious -- the sort of thing you could ONLY do in a wacked-out fairy tale like this one. And as soon as I heard Tom Waits's voice, I thought, "Aha, of COURSE Jeff had to like this film!"

Still a bit wary about letting THIS guy direct the first Narnia movie, though.

FWIW, it will be interesting to see how this film performs at the box office. When the first film came out three years ago, it quickly became the 2nd-highest-grossing cartoon of all time, after The Lion King. (Both films have since been surpassed by Finding Nemo.) It was also the 13th-highest-grossing film of all time, period, for a few months, but since then has been bumped down to 23rd.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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They love it at Cannes.

And Jeffrey Katzenberg says they're already working on Shrek 4.

Yes, Shrek 4. As well as Shrek 3, of course.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I did a phone interview with Jon Scieszka several years ago -- should I dig up the article?

I'm not too bothered by the fact that dragons etc. are not portrayed as inherently evil in these films -- I mean, given that dragons are not even inherently evil in MYTH, necessarily. (Dragons are GOOD in China, for example.) But it DOES bother me a tad that we are seeing an increasing number of films in which characters who eat other characters are held up as fine, upstanding people with whom we can all get along -- see Ella Enchanted or the 'Anthropomorphic Munchies' thread.

Seeing Donkey and Dragon together at the end of the first film, I could not help but think of Tevye's line that "a bird may love a fish, but where would they build a home together?"

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Guest Russell Lucas

The source of the film's character is a book by William Steig, who died last year and whose children's books were, in my experience, really great about 66% of the time and really not-great the other 33%. His Shrek was a totally different character, but the coincidental feature for purposes of your earlier posts was that the book Shrek struggles to come to terms with the fact that certain types of behavior are expected of or endemic to ogres.

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I must also admit that I am somewhat bothered by the basic premise: An heroic ogre. I like the classical conventions. (This relates to the issues raised in other threads regarding Tolkein's orcs and trolls.)

Since Ogres don't really exist, I feel it's OK for them to be vilified. Their ugliness is supposed to be a metaphor for evil, and I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable doing away with such metaphors, if for no other reason that they are a useful mechanism of fantasy-based instruction for children. I suspect there's more too it than that.

So...basically, you support the idea of teaching children to judge people by their appearance? In spite of the fact that the Bible seems to suggest that appearances can be deceiving?

To me, that's the charm of using a creature traditionally presented as "monster" in the role of hero. Charm is deceitful, beauty is vein. It's downright dangerous to judge someone on how they appear, a basic premise of the films. I've seen brainless monster ogres-a lot. Shrek is a nice change. As Ogres are not real (which you pointed out), it is a shame to limit them to being dark creatures to scare children and teach them that evil is visibley "ugly". I'd say that using them in that function is on par with your concerns about the messages of the Shrek films...not superior. Afterall, evil is rarely as clearly ugly as we want it to be. Even snakes are often hidden by beautiful colors.

Edited by Nezpop

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Well, then why is it shocking that God used Balaam's ass? Why is it significant that Goliath was a giant? Why are fearsome images and creatures in the Bible presented as ... fearsome?

The ass was fearsome?

blink.gif

When were donkeys declared evil? Galioth was, as far as we can see in the Bible, still an offshoot of humanity. And the Nephelim, as I recall, were men of renown and heroism. Most of the fearsom creatures in the bible are pretty typical "ick" factor reasons. They creep us out. A shark may bite and even kill someone...doesn't make it evil.

biggrin.gif

And I agree an Ogre can be a hero, but it must stop behaving ogrish, if Ogres are, in fact, evil. But in Shrek's world, ogres aren't evil -- which makes me wonder if they're really ogres at all, or if we are being forced to, in fact, judge by apperances (it looks like an ogre...). And this is where the trickery of Story-telling starts showing through.

If you create a fictional world such as Shrek's where ogres aren't evil, then of course it's OK for them to be humanized, and therefore above dehumanizing treatment. Heck it would be wrong to treat Donkey as a beast of burden in that world.

But the problem here is (as you point out)...are ogres evil? Depends on the story. In the Lord of the Rings, they are pretty brainless beasts of labor. In Shrek, it was clear that Ogres are BELIEVED to be monsters. We see him play up rumors about what Ogres do in the film...but we see no evidence that they actually are. He plays up the monster role to be left alone. I mean, we see him eating gruesome stuff-but humans eat some gross foods as well. We never see evidence that he will kill people. In Shrek's world, I just don't think your concerns are applicable. If we had evidence of him doing monstrous things (beyond scaring people so they will leave him alone) and he showed no evidence of wanting to change-I might agree. But Shrek's universe seems predicated on the idea that while Shrek is thought to be a monster, he is, in fact not. As I recall, Ella Enchanted had "good ogres" that ate people. There is a problem.

Edited by Nezpop

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Ted Baehr sez:

The director of both SHREK I and II is Adam Adamson, who is reported to be a Christian and so is directing THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE. The are some very clear moral and Christian worldview elements in the movie, especially the overriding theme of self-sacrifice and "do unto others as they would do unto you." Shrek even revloves around the plot device of seeking the Fiona's father's blessing.

It does? I didn't get the feeling that Shrek was doing much of anything to get Fiona's father's blessing. It all seemed to "revlove" around Shrek feeling like he couldn't compete with Charming.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Ted Baehr wrote:

: The director of both SHREK I and II is Adam Adamson . . .

Everybody seems to have trouble with this guy's name. (Jeff, your Film Forum yesterday said it was Andrew Abramson!) It's Andrew Adamson.

: . . . who is reported to be a Christian and so is directing THE LION, THE WITCH &

: THE WARDROBE.

"And so"? I frankly don't care whether the adapter of that story is a Christian or not -- it is the film itself that matters to me.

: The are some very clear moral and Christian worldview elements in the movie,

: especially the overriding theme of self-sacrifice and "do unto others as they would

: do unto you."

Oh, that's HILARIOUS -- and revealing, too. And here I thought the Christian message was "do unto others as YOU WOULD HAVE THEM do unto you."

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Yeah, the fact that Shrek and Fiona have to be IDENTICAL in order to be lovers was a point of contention for some people when the first movie came out, too -- it arguably would have made a more powerful statement if Fiona, the human, had married Shrek, the ogre. But I guess that's where Donkey and Dragon come in.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Adamson is under attack for taking a writing credit. I wasn't able to find the original post in the forums, but there are excerpts here and here. Over at wordplay.com, Shrek co-writer Ted Elliott wrote:

The only post I will make on the topic of Shrek 2. More than half of the story elements in the movie were created by Terry and me. This the second time director Adamson has attempted to claim writing credit for the work of the other people. The first time, on Shrek, he failed; this time, he succeeded.

I would advise any writers considering working with Adamson in the future: do not.

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Maybe he didn't want to make a movie based on the screenplay for Shrek 2 so much as he wanted to make a movie based on his memory of the screenplay for Shrek 2 ...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Yowzah. With a weekend haul of $104.3 million and another $20.9 million gleaned the previous Wednesday and Thursday, Shrek 2 is now virtually tied with The Passion of the Christ for the best Wednesday-to-Sunday opening weekend ever. (The original Shrek grossed $42.3 million in its opening weekend.)

This also marks the second film to gross $100 million in a single weekend (after Spider-Man's $114.8 million in 2002) and the best opening weekend ever for an animated film (beating the $70.3 million record set last year by Finding Nemo). Also, Shrek 2's Saturday haul of $44.8 million is the largest single-day gross of any film, ever.

Of course, some of this was helped by the fact that the film, currently playing in 4,163 theatres, is currently enjoying the widest release of all time.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Guest Russell Lucas

The kids laughed at pretty much all of it, I laughed at some of it, and I've already forgotten exactly everything I laughed at, with the exception of the really cute shot of the Puss with big, sad eyes. The thematic elements, such as they are, are almost completely indecipherable to me, being sandwiched around so many (I mean, SO MANY) references and homages that nobody apart from adults will understand.

I'm now sick of references and in-jokes and cute giant Gingerbread Men rampaging just like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man. What sort of creativity is this? The lasting memory I'll have from this film experience was the couple about my age sitting directly behind us, soaking it all in approvingly. Pinocchio does the little shuffle step from Michael Jackson's repetoire circa 1983, the guy bellows out, "Ha, ho, THAT'S SO WRONG!!" Shrek's rescuers ape a scene from Mission Impossible and the guy just busts out laughing and expressing admiration for the cleverness on display.

Few, if any of these references were offensive, so it's not really a matter of not wanting my kids to see them. Though, boy, a thong-wearing Pinocchio. My humor circuits couldn't possibly have been readied for something like that. It's just, really, why would they want to see those references when they likely wouldn't fit the narrative as well as some other image or dialogue which does not have a hypertextual meaning? They don't understand the references, and without the slick popcult knowledge I have from wasting hours on Night Tracks as a teen, I wouldn't find much of this to be entertaining contextually.

I don't so much dislike the film. It just seems the blandest sort of entertainment possible; a "kids movie" too cool to be aimed at a child's sensibilities, instead preferring the tastes of faux-nostalgic adults who are slumming it. Subverting just enough to be postured as the anti-Disney, but playing along with enough of the princess rubbish to still be able to sell Princess Fiona dolls.

Meanwhile, Disney (or, more precisely, its Pixar minions) runs its Incredibles trailer beforehand, and you just know that even though they give away none of the story and few of the big gags in the trailer, it will have so much more that meets the eye. And it won't be forgettable. It isn't even a fair fight, really. Especially when Dreamworks runs their trailer for the shark movie beforehand, too, and it looks bad and, in contrast, I have little reason to believe that film will also exhibit the Pixaresque quality of showing little in the trailer and delivering something larger that means something apart from its referential hipness.

All this just when Dreamworks developed that new animation title screen thingie. All dressed up and nothing to show.

And, as an aside, I'm not sure there are more than a couple-- two or three-- things about Shrek 2's animation that I enjoy more than 2D, hand-drawn stuff. The donkey, Puss and the gingerbread man are visually impressive, but not much else does anything for me on the eye candy front. I kept looking for something as neat as Sully's fur, but came away wanting. One problem, I think, is that Dreamworks uses too many human characters in these films, and human characters still look somewhat clunky and unconvincing in CGI mode. Pixar (yeah, I know I'm really throwing them every kind of laurel) seems to understand that human characters are to be kept to an absolute minimum, and better still if you can keep the humans small and short, or if you can show only portions of them (hands, head, feet).

I hope Shrek 3 manages to work in "The Emperor's New Clothes." That's a reference I could appreciate.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Of course, no one here cares about the box office, but a new record is a new record, so ...

It seems Shrek 2 has accelerated the rate at which it rakes in the green. It was one of five films that tied for 5th-fastest to $100 million, and then one of three films that tied for 2nd-fastest to $200 million -- but it blew away the old record for fastest to $300 million last weekend when it hit that mark on its 18th day; the previous record of 22 days was set by Spider-Man two years ago. (Spider-Man holds the record in the other two categories.)

Next up: the record for fastest to $400 million is 66 days, a tie set by Titanic in 1997 and equalled by Spider-Man in 2002. (The Phantom Menace did it in 67 days, and the only other films to cross that line -- Star Wars and E.T. -- did so on their 20th anniversaries.)

Can Shrek 2 beat that record? It has until July 22 to do so.

Looks like The Passion of the Christ might not even be the top-grossing film of the YEAR, let alone of all time.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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This today from IMDb's studio briefing page.

'Shrek 3' & 4 Already in the Works

Jeffrey Katzenberg has disclosed that work on Shrek 3 began nine months ago and that work on Shrek 4 began three months ago. Katzenberg made the disclosure during an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald as he arrived in the Australian city for the local premiere of Shrek 2. "We have two more chapters to tell. Not unlike Peter Jackson did with The Lord of the Rings. The difference is they did have the guts to make all three of them back-to-back-to-back," he said, noting that in the case of the Shrek films, 13 years will have passed from the time the original began production until the fourth film is released in 2009. "We do spend three or four years making them," he said. "The nature of the process is [that] you get to see your work and view it over and over and over again -- and redo it and remake it in a way that live action doesn't have." Katzenberg credited Pixar's John Lasseter with "carrying the Disney flame," explaining that "Lasseter has all of those qualities that Walt Disney had as a storyteller. He has very much a childlike perspective in terms of how he looks at the world and how he sees things."

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
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Guest Russell Lucas
Of course, no one here cares about the box office, but a new record is a new record, so ...

It seems Shrek 2 has accelerated the rate at which it rakes in the green. It was one of five films that tied for 5th-fastest to $100 million, and then one of three films that tied for 2nd-fastest to $200 million -- but it blew away the old record for fastest to $300 million last weekend when it hit that mark on its 18th day; the previous record of 22 days was set by Spider-Man two years ago. (Spider-Man holds the record in the other two categories.)

Next up: the record for fastest to $400 million is 66 days, a tie set by Titanic in 1997 and equalled by Spider-Man in 2002. (The Phantom Menace did it in 67 days, and the only other films to cross that line -- Star Wars and E.T. -- did so on their 20th anniversaries.)

Can Shrek 2 beat that record? It has until July 22 to do so.

Looks like The Passion of the Christ might not even be the top-grossing film of the YEAR, let alone of all time.

Actually, I'm hopeful that if Shrek 2 does anything, it renders discussion of box office irrelevant to anybody but studio suits.

My take on the film qualitatively is really akin more to indifference than hate. It's the perfect representation of the idea that modern pop cleverness is about references rather than jokes or wit. Above all, it's such a forgettable way to spend an hour and a half that I'm actually not surprised if the film is doing repeat business, as I'd wager that portions of the audience ask themselves days afterward, Sammy Jankis-style, "What was that about again?"

Oddly enough or (il-)legitimately enough, most of the big box-office smashes seem to say something about a particular time or a particular audience. Gone With the Wind, Star Wars, Titanic, The Passion.... Each of those widely-seen movies provides some commentary on our habits as moviegoers or a particular demographic's predominance or desires. What does this film say? Yes, we've all known for a long time that people throw lots of money at bad or shallow movies during the summer months, but what in particular made this one attractive apart from its timing? Even the film's fans would likely admit that the film is far less successful or entertaining than any number of other children's films from the last half-decade. If this film's success can have any effect on showing people that large box office receipts are wholly unrelated to a film's quality, or the degree to which a film is memorable and capable of providing lasting pleasure, then that's something.

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Russell Lucas wrote:

: Actually, I'm hopeful that if Shrek 2 does anything, it renders discussion of box

: office irrelevant to anybody but studio suits.

And numbers geeks, like me. smile.gif

FWIW, as of this weekend, Shrek 2 has grossed $354 million and has thus passed Finding Nemo to become the top-grossing cartoon of all time. At the rate it's going, it should pass The Passion of the Christ to become the top film of the year by NEXT weekend.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The thematic elements, such as they are, are almost completely indecipherable to me, being sandwiched around so many (I mean, SO MANY) references and homages that nobody apart from adults will understand.

Yep. This one felt clunkier than the first one. The first movie felt more plot based, the second one succumbed to the sight gags and pop-culture references/jabs.

I'm now sick of references and in-jokes and cute giant Gingerbread Men rampaging just like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man.
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