Greatest Movie Series
Shrek II (2004)
Shrek (2001) | Shrek II (2004) | Shrek the Third (2007) | Shrek Forever After (2010)
|Shrek II (2004)
d. Andrew Adamson, 88 minutes
Film Plot Summary
A large, stylized fairytale book was opened, as in the previous original film, and the text was read outloud (in voice-over) as the leaves of the pages turned:
Effeminate, narcissistic Prince Charming (voice of Rupert Everett) rode out of one of the pages to the castle, where he approached the highest room in the tallest tower to enter the Princess' chambers to kiss her. In the Princess' place, he was surprised to find the Big Bad Wolf (dressed in grandmother's clothing) reclining in bed, reading Pork Illustrated. Princess Fiona (voice of Cameron Diaz) was on her honeymoon after marrying Shrek (voice of Mike Myers), shown in a home video to the tune of "Accidentally in Love" by Counting Crows, as they arrived at Hansel's Honeymoon Hideway, a gingerbread house, and he carried her over the threshold. In a montage of scenes, they enjoyed a picnic basket of drumsticks by the beach, kissed in the surf From Here to Eternity (1953) style, although Shrek actually ended up kissing The Little Mermaid (1989) (who was thrown back into the ocean by Fiona and consumed by sharks as in Jaws (1975)). He presented her with a ring (forged and tossed into the air a la The Lord of the Rings trilogy) engraved: "I LOVE YOU." Although they were blissfully in love, they were ostracized and chased by fearful villagers, which Fiona defensively fought off - she then kissed Shrek upside-down (a reference to Spider-Man (2002)). They took a mud-bath together, with the captured light of Tinkerbells in jars.
They returned from their honeymoon to Shrek's swamp abode, where the Donkey (voice of Eddie Murphy) awaited them, claiming that he had taken care of their "love nest." The newlyweds asked for privacy and time to be together without Donkey's presence. Shrek and Princess Fiona were summoned, by a fanfare of the Hawaii 5-0 Theme Song, to the Kingdom of Far, Far Away "for a royal ball" in celebration of their marriage. Fiona's parents, King Harold (voice of John Cleese) and Queen Lillian (voice of Julie Andrews), were to bestow the King's royal blessing upon them. Although Shrek was extremely reluctant ("Somehow I don't think I'll be welcome at the country club"), calling it a "bad idea," Fiona eventually convinced him to participate (with Donkey also accompanying them, singing the theme from the TV show Rawhide as they departed). During the long journey in their "Just Married" onion carriage, the bored Donkey repeatedly and annoyingly asked, "Are we there yet?", and entertained himself by making obnoxious clicking noises.
When they entered Far, Far Away (a parody of Hollywood/Beverly Hills, seen in the hillside sign) to the tune of "Funkytown" performed by Lipps, Inc., they entered the castle gates (the Paramount Studios archway), where Donkey remarked: "It's gonna be champagne wishes and caviar dreams from now on." They passed Farbucks Coffee, Burger Prince, Versarchery, a billboard advertising the Fairy Godmother, Baskin Robinhood, Old Knavery, Tower of London Records, Gap Queen, Banana Kingdom, a film poster for Lethal Arrow, the gated homes of Rapunzel and Cinderella, and then were met by a cheering crowd at the castle entrance, where their red-carpet arrival was awaited by the King and Queen. Doves were released as they stepped from their carriage - and revealed that they were both ogres, causing the fanfare and cheering to abruptly stop. The scene was punctuated with the crashing of a distracted dove into a castle wall. They were greeted with audible gasps, as Shrek asked Fiona: "So, you still think this was a good idea?...We came, we saw them. Now let's go before they light the torches." The King was especially repulsed, believing that he had sent Prince Charming to rescue his daughter by kissing her and breaking the spell. Shrek crudely joked nervously: "Well, it's easy to see where Fiona gets her good looks from."
As the group ate a formal dinner together (inspired by Meet the Parents (2000)), Shrek and Fiona belched, and then realized how inappropriate they were. Donkey joined them, claiming he was the "noble steed" that helped rescue Fiona from the Dragon. Shrek tried to cover over the fact that he lived in a swamp, and choked when the Queen said: "I suppose that would be a fine place to raise the children" -- young ogre grandchildren. As they dug into their food, a dinner of roast pig and giant lobsters, Shrek and King Harold argued with each other over their child-rearing methods -- Harold accused Shrek of possibly eating his own young, while Shrek replied that Harold hadn't done much better - he had locked his daughter away in a dragon-guarded castle tower. Disgusted, Fiona stomped away from the table and locked herself in her chambers for the evening. Her falling tears brought her Fairy Godmother (voice of Jennifer Saunders) to her side, who remarked on how Fiona was "all grown up." She sang the "Fairy Godmother Song" (a bouncy parody of "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast (1991)) in which she promised: "I'm here to make it all better" with a wave of her magic wand, predicting that Fiona could land a handsome Prince with cash, a high-priced dress, crystal-glass pumps (Fiona's dress blew up like the infamous Marilyn Monroe pose from The Seven Year Itch (1955)), a sporty carriage with a sexy chauffeur, and an end to blemishes, tooth decay, and cellulite thighs with a 'nip and tuck" - all to acquire a "prince with rock-hard abs."
Shrek was ready to pack and leave immediately, feeling unwelcome. Harold remained upset over Fiona's choice of Shrek, rather than Prince Charming that had been "picked" for her: "Our daughter has married a monster." Harold was whisked off in the Fairy Godmother's carriage for a quick visit, during which time he was also accosted by her son Prince Charming. The prince retold the story of his adventures, with many obstacles in his way, to the room high in the tower to kiss and rescue Fiona, but found a "gender-confused wolf" telling him that the princess was already married. At the Friar's Fat Boy drive-in, they ordered a Medieval Meal and other food items, and then continued their conversation. She reminded Harold that he had broken their deal that they had made earlier, about how Charming would marry Fiona. Harold was to use his 'imagination' somehow to get rid of Shrek.
In the next scene set at nighttime at The Poison Apple, a hooded King Harold entered the tavern where Captain Hook played the piano and sang "Little Drop of Poison." He spoke to the transvestite Ugly Stepsister Doris (voice of Larry King) behind the bar, about 'taking care of' an ogre problem - and was recommended to an assassin. In the shadows of a back room, Harold engaged the "valuable services" of the Spanish-accented swashbuckler killer, later revealed to be Puss In Boots (voice of Antonio Banderas). Shrek and Fiona slept together in the castle, to the tune of "I Need Some Sleep" performed by Eels. Restless, Shrek awoke, found Fiona's illustrated childhood diary, and read - with increasing worry - about how her mother promised that when she was older, she would be rescued by Prince Charming from the castle tower - "and we'll all live happily ever after. Mrs. Fiona Charming. Mrs. Fiona Charming. Mrs. Fiona Charming.... (repeated)." King Harold interrupted by knocking on the bedroom door, where he apologized to Shrek for his "despicable behavior" - and invited Shrek to join him on a morning hunt. Shrek and Donkey were to meet him at an oak tree at 7:30 in the morning - but it was a trap.
They were confronted by Zorro-like, sword-wielding Puss In Boots with boots and a feathered hat. After the clawed creature attacked Shrek, he burst out of his sweater (an homage to Alien (1979)), carved the letter P with three strokes of his sword into a tree, but then suffered an upchucking hairball episode. [Note: Banderas played Zorro in The Mask of Zorro (1998).] Donkey proposed: "Take the sword and neuter him. Give him the Bob Barker treatment." Puss In Boots pleaded with them, explaining how he was hired for gold by the King to do away with them - "Dad's royal blessing" - Shrek sarcastically quipped. Although he doubted Fiona's love for him: "I just wish I could make her happy" - he then had an idea. They would summon the Fairy Godmother, with one of Donkey's sad tear drops, but when she responded with only an answering machine message, they decided to go on a quest to meet her in person. Puss accompanied them, obliged to save Shrek's life as his own life had been spared.
When Fiona awoke and realized that Shrek had opened her diary and then left, she attempted to seek her father for assistance. He claimed he had always been thinking about what was best for his daughter and then suggested: "maybe you should do the same." Later, Fiona confessed that she had to set things right, and proposed leaving to find Shrek and then return to the swamp where they belonged together. But as she left, she fainted...
The trio of Puss, Donkey, and Shrek arrived at the Fairy Godmother's cottage, where she produced hexes and potions for the whole kingdom. They bypassed the Receptionist and snuck into the potion production factory, and then spied upon the Fairy Godmother herself, who was concocting a new love potion: "A drop of desire..a pinch of passion, and just a hint of lust!" She suggested that Fiona was unhappy (and wasn't living "happily ever after") because - unlike all the other traditional fairy tales (including a mention of Pretty Woman (1990)), she had married an ogre: "Ogres don't live happily ever after." Donning a factory worker uniform, Shrek (and his pals) snuck into the Potion Room and procured a vial of "Happily Ever After" potion (to restore Fiona's love) from a tall case, after Puss used a Mission: Impossible technique of cutting a round circle in the security glass. To the tune of "Ever Fallen in Love" performed by Pete Yorn, they escaped, while destroying the factory in their wake. Shrek poured a giant cauldron of potion all over the factory employees as they fled (two of them were transformed into Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast (1991)). The Fairy Godmother discovered the missing vial, and cunningly thought to herself: "I do believe we can make this work to our advantage."
The potion's vial promised: "Beauty Divine" - so both Donkey and Shrek took a drink, and a sudden rainstorm occurred. In a cottage where they sought shelter, Donkey promised that they would feel better the next day, while singing "Tomorrow," and they fell into a deep sleep. The next morning -- Shrek realized he had been transformed into a handsome man (fawned over by eager young milkmaids), and Donkey was now a dashing white stallion. The instructions on the vial bottle specified: "To make the effects of this potion permanent, the drinker must obtain his true love's kiss by midnight." Shrek warned: "Look out, Princess. Here comes the new me." Shrek rode his Donkey-stallion to the castle, to the tune of "Changes," performed by Butterfly Boocher (David Bowie), where the magic potion had also transformed Fiona back into her human self. The Fairy Godmother intercepted and blocked Shrek from seeing Fiona, and directed her son Prince Charming to pose as Shrek. She then urged Shrek to let Fiona be happy with "pretty boy" Charming ("She's finally found the prince of her dreams") by letting her go: "If you really love her, you'll let her go." To the tune of "People Ain't No Good," performed by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Shrek and his pals went drinking at the tavern to commiserate. Puss sat dejectedly at the bar: "I hate Mondays" (a reference to cartoon cat Garfield's favorite phrase).
Worried that Fiona wasn't warming up to Charming, King Harold met with the Fairy Godmother and her son in the backroom of the tavern, proposing to call the whole scheme off: "You can't force someone to fall in love." The Fairy Godmother had an alternative idea - she gave Harold another love potion for Fiona to drink, and promised - "she'll fall in love with the first man she kisses - which will be Charming." [She threatened the reluctant Harold to comply, warning that she could take away his own "happily ever after" spell if he didn't - a plot twist to be revealed in the conclusion.] Conveniently, Shrek and his pals overheard the conversation, but were discovered and pursued.
That evening, the Far, Far Away Royal Ball was held, and people gathered for the red-carpet arrivals (reminiscent of the Oscars), announced by Joan Rivers (Herself) for E (E! Entertainment): she noted Hansel and Gretel, Tom Thumb and Thumbelina, Sleeping Beauty, and the Fairy Godmother. The Magic Mirror broadcast the show, being watched by a group of Shrek's friends in Shrek's swamp abode: the Gingerbread (or Gingy) Man, Pinocchio, the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Blind Mice, and the Three Little Pigs. They flipped the channel to a show called KNIGHTS ("We got a white bronco heading east into the forest. Requesting backup" - a reference to the OJ Simpson police chase, but with a real horse), (a parody of the TV show Cops), and were amazed to watch footage of the arrest of Shrek and his pals by royal guards (Puss was charged with possession of catnip), and imprisonment in a dungeon. Before the ball, King Harold brought tea to Fiona, laced with the new love potion. At first, she refused to attend the ceremony, because the "new Shrek" (narcissistic Prince Charming) didn't act like her real husband Shrek: "I'd give anything to have him back." To the accompaniment of the theme song from "Mission: Impossible," Shrek's friends freed the trio from the dungeon, by lowering Pinocchio into the hole and having him tell a lie about his thong underwear - extending his nose so that the Gingerbread Man could unlock their handcuffs.
Shrek's plan was to consult with the Muffin Man with a Bakery on Drury Lane, and create a giant Gingerbread Man (named Mongo) (a parody of Ghostbusters (1984) and Blazing Saddles (1974)): "It's alive!" (a reference to Frankenstein (1931)). Mongo (with Shrek on his shoulder) (voice of Conrad Vernon) marched to the castle, to crash the party and to presumably stop Prince Charming from kissing Fiona. At the ball, the Fairy Godmother magically donned a sequined red dress, and delivered a cabaret-styled rendition of "Holding Out For a Hero" while the couple danced, atop a piano (in homage to The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)). Mongo lost his arms and crumbled apart in the watery moat (he moaned bitterly to his smaller counterpart, "Be Good" - reminiscent of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)), as they stormed the castle, and Donkey-stallion rode into the ball carrying Shrek. With the help of his friends, the wand was snatched from the Fairy Godmother, who then ordered Charming: "She's taken the potion. Kiss her now!" - but his kiss had no effect, and Fiona head-butted Charming to knock him out. King Harold admitted that he had deliberately given Fiona the wrong tea cup, and then with his armored body, self-sacrificially blocked a spell cast from the Fairy Godmother's wand aimed at Shrek. The spell rebounded off his armor and struck the Fairy Godmother, disintegrating her. Although everyone thought that King Harold "croaked" - he actually had been returned to his true form as the Frog Prince. He apologized, now realizing that his daughter Fiona already had the "best" - in the form of Shrek, and gave the couple his blessing for their marriage. [Lillian had been the Princess who had kissed him and made him a human.]
As the clock struck midnight, Shrek and Fiona had the opportunity to choose whether to remain as humans or ogres. She told him: "I want what any princess wants. To live happily ever after, with the ogre I married." With the final chime, they reverted back to being ogres, along with Donkey (Shrek told his pal: "You still look like a noble steed to me.") Donkey and Puss took the stage to sing "Livin' La Vida Loca" (with Puss' homage to the chair water-dousing from Flashdance (1983)) as the party resumed.
In the midst of the credits, as the party was winding down, Donkey sang "All By Myself" by himself on stage -- he was greeted by his Dragon girlfriend -- and his six dragon-donkey hybrid babies: "Look at our little mutant babies." As the screen went black, he said to himself: "I got to get a job."
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
With a production budget of $150 million, and box-office gross receipts of $441 million (domestic) and $920 million (worldwide).
In 2011, it remained the highest-grossing animated film of all time.
Shrek II (2004) was the highest-grossing film of the series of four Shrek films.
Shrek II (2004) was the highest-grossing film of 2004, surpassing Spider-Man 2 (2004) at $373.5 million.
PG-rated Shrek II topped G-rated Finding Nemo (2003) in two ways: it was the biggest opening ever for an animated film, and in a little over three weeks became the highest-grossing animated film of all-time, at $441 million.
Shrek (2001) and its lucrative sequel, its most successful film to date, helped DreamWorks' animation division to be successfully spun off as its own unit.
With two Academy Awards nominations: Best Animated Feature Film, and Best Original Song ("Accidentally in Love").
With numerous pop-cultural references, movie references, one-liners, visual gags and spoofs that parodied Hollywood and fairytales: Far, Far Away (Hollywood), Burger Prince (Burger King), Farbucks (Starbucks), Versarchery (Versace), Olde Knavery (Old Navy), Saxon Fifth Avenue (Saks Fifth Avenue), Gap Queen (Gap Kids), Tower of London Records (Tower Records), Friar's Fat Boy (Big Boy), Baskin Robinhood (Baskin Robbins), Banana Kingdom (Banana Republic), Marilyn Monroe's infamous pose from The Seven Year Itch (1955) - when Fiona's dress blows up, Meet the Parents (2000), Ghostbusters (1984), Mission: Impossible (1996), Alien (1979), Flashdance (1983), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), Spider-Man (2002), From Here To Eternity (1953), The Little Mermaid (1989) and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and even more, such as Joan Rivers' red-carpet appearance, and the TV show Cops (parodied as KNIGHTS).
Also Worth Your Attention...
Puss in Boots
Series-Introduction - Index to All Films | Series-Box Office