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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

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‘Shrek 2’ is still a masterpiece

The Shrek franchise has had incredible longevity. The first Shrek movie hit theaters in 2001, and the latest film “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” hit theaters in 2022. Most of Generation Z has grown up with Shrek, Donkey and Fiona. If Dreamworks keeps its promise and releases “Shrek 5” by 2025, a new generation of children will learn that ogres are like onions.  

As we reflect on the enduring popularity of the Shrek franchise, it is worth considering how well the humor of the original films, often rooted in mid-aughts pop culture references, has aged. “Shrek 2” celebrated its twentieth anniversary last weekend, creating the opportune moment to assess how the film has weathered the past two decades. 

“Shrek 2” stands as a testament to the art of the sequel, expanding the world of the first film and introducing characters that would become beloved staples of the series, such as Prince Charming and Puss in Boots. The latter went on to star in his spin-off, and the rest of the series would take place in Prince Charming's kingdom of Far Far Away. 

The sequel also boasts the strongest villain of the series. Fairy Godmother is by far the most powerful and most iconic opposition to Shrek. Jennifer Saunders has an unforgettable vocal performance, singing an original song and “Holding out for a Hero.”

The memes from this film are some of the best in the series. I come across the line “they do not even have dental” more often than any other Shrek meme, which is saying something on an internet crowded with Shrek memes. Though the humor is at times juvenile, “Shrek 2” still has a lot of genuinely smart jokes that kids and parents alike can enjoy.

The music is nothing short of incredible. Many people in my generation will remember the stunning rendition of “Holding Out for a Hero,” which might overshadow the origin of that song. I would bet money that more people will remember “Holding Out for a Hero” from “Shrek 2” than from “Footloose.” Using “Accidentally In Love” by Counting Crows during the opening also sets a great tone for the film.

Though some references might not land as well as they did in 2005, such as the numerous American Idol allusions or the mention of O.J. Simpson's car chase, kids today can enjoy this film. Other references, such as the “Lord of the Rings” bit and the “Spiderman” kiss, have aged like fine wine. 

And Dreamworks, if you're reading this, please release “Shrek 5” sooner rather than later. I miss this franchise and can't wait to return to the Shrek universe.