Once upon a time in 2001, a movie was released that took the world by storm. It was a massive critical and commercial success and single
handedly put DreamWorks Animation on the map with accomplished heavyweight Pixar.

Despite all this, I was one of the (admittedly) few that were disappointed with Shrek. Shrek 2 picks up where the original left off. Pretty soon
we find ourselves in the kingdom of Far, Far Away, where Shrek and Fiona (and Donkey, of course) go to meet her parents.

Shrek 2 is a better movie than the original. The plot is more focused and it is a lot funnier. Between the numerous pop culture references,
witty dialog, and visual gags, Shrek 2 maintains a good flow of jokes throughout the entire film, something I felt the original lacked.

I also liked the way the movie deals with the dramatic relationship between Shrek and Fiona. Most sequels would go for more action and
jokes, but here I think the drama is actually better developed in the follow-up. It provides a somehow believable continuation to their
relationship instead of the obvious "falling out of love, then coming back together at the end" cliché.

And that is why Shrek 2 succeeds. The intent was to make a fun, enjoyable movie instead of a cutesy cartoon where you feel like the makers
are just trying to figure out what kids would want to see. That said however, Shrek 2 has some slight irritations that keep it from greatness.

First of all, just drop the crappy pop songs. They hurt the first film and they do the same here. It feels like they are only there to sell the
soundtrack, especially when composer Harry Gregson-Williams has created some wonderful themes that work extremely well with the film
but are sparsely used.

The movie also feels slightly rushed in the last act. As a matter of fact, the entire movie seems to go by pretty quickly. Oh well, I guess short
and sweet is better than long and drawn out.

* * *
(Out of four)
Directed by: Andrew Adamson, Kely Asbury, Conrad

Written by: Andrew Adamson and Joe Stillman and J.
David Stem & David N. Weiss

Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz,
Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese

Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams

Released: May 19, 2004; 93 Minutes