A spillover of goodies

A scene from Shrek 2  

Shrek 2

Shrek 2 (English)

ONE HAS grown so used to associating Disney with all the great-animated adventures of the big screen. It takes a deliberate mental effort to acknowledge that inspired cartoon films can sometimes come from other cinematic stables. The first Shrek was a product of DreamWorks, a production company in which Steven Spielberg is the resident creative brain (and part owner). So it was not too surprising when the film was one of the biggest successes of 2001.

The sequel — Shrek 2 — comes to Bangalore this week. And while it is not particularly inspired in any marked manner, there are enough of spillover goodies to persuade all fans of that first film to visit the theatre once more. For a start, the inspired pairing of the less-than-razor-sharp Shrek — a gentle giant if ever there was one — and the world-wise, cheeky Donkey ensures that the story is secondary to their verbal give and take. Mouthed by Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy, the animated characters assume the personas of these well-known actors.

Shrek is now married to the princess he rescued — Fiona — and she becomes almost a mirror of her ugly hubby. They are summoned by her royal parents to be "inspected" — and her father in particular, still harbours ideas that he can exchange his son-in-law for a better brained, better looking guy — like the slimy Prince Charming (voice of Rupert Everett). The "supari" hitman for hire to bump of Shrek is Puss in Boots — and with the voice of Antonio Banderas and the costume of Zorro, he is a laugh riot.

The new Hollywood trick is to make such "family" products on two levels: while kids will just laugh at the physical antics, the adults accompanying, are separately catered for — with an altogether smuttier line of dialogue and a lot of nudge-and-wink swipes at earlier film favourites. Sometimes one longs for the days gone by, when film makers made just one good product and had sufficient confidence in their ability to leave it to the intelligence of audiences of all ages to like it or lump it. They usually loved it.

Anand Parthasarathy