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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

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“Shrek 2” (Movie Review Anniversary Edition)

Gabi Merchen
No fairy tale is as it seems in “Shrek 2,” which celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this month.

There aren’t many things from childhood that hold their sparkle into our later years. The jangling keys that entertained us in our infancy are now no more than a means to start our cars. The coloring books that once held our rapt attention are now dismissed as subliterary drivel, and the world-altering excitement of the first day of school has been replaced with a demoralizing commute to and from our respective places of business. Amid the dreadful transformation of joy to monotony, there is one thing from childhood that continues to excite, delight, and bring forth the dormant childlike wonder from our hearts: that thing is the cinematic magnum opus of “Shrek 2.”

Luckily for yours truly, the film had a re-release in select theaters across the country to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of its historic debut. When it originally came out on April 12, 2004, “Shrek 2” blasted past box office expectations, becoming the single highest grossing U.S. release of an animated feature ever. Naturally, the re-release was not expected to see comparable numbers, but the movie still featured in the top 10 of the domestic box office charts for its twentieth birthday celebration.

“Shrek 2” tells the continuing story of the titular Shrek, an ogre with a heart of gold who just keeps finding himself in all sorts of wacky peril. The movie begins approximately where the last one left off. After saving princess Fiona from a fiery dragon alongside his chatty best pal, Donkey, Shrek finds himself on the receiving end of an even more daunting mission: meeting the in-laws.

A somewhat smarmy fairy tale with a charming self-awareness as well as a surprisingly biting sense of humor, “Shrek 2” encompasses everything that a proper epic ought to: swashbuckling rogues, ferocious beasts, beautiful princesses, evil curses, and, of course, a gaggle of mercilessly amusing fairy tale characters.

With similar themes to the original as well as many of the same beloved characters, this enchanting sequel manages to continue flipping our expectations on their head. Nothing about the Shrek universe is particularly conventional, but the second installment does something admirable and rare: it improves upon the already stellar original.

If I could sum up this movie in one word, it would be “unconventional.” The film seems to take pride in switching up every expectation of the genre it occupies. By the end, there is truly no trope left unturned. The monster saves the day and gets the girl. Prince Charming and Fairy Godmother are in nefarious cahoots to bring them down, and none other of the fairy tale creatures is who you expect them to be.

Funny, honest, entertaining, and heartwarming, this truly tremendous movie will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the best sequels of all time. While it’s far from the last Shrek-based slice of cinema, it is far and away the most compelling, most well written, and most touching of any of the movies in the SCU (Shrek Cinematic Universe). The recent sequel of Shrek’s sister franchise “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” could give this movie a run for its money in a sequel-off, but, at the end of the day, nothing beats that blood-pumping final action sequence set to the life-changing performance of “I Need a Hero” from Fiona’s Fairy Godmother.

From the first note of David Bowie’s “Changes” to the final refrain of “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” the movie’s music is a standout element, only adding to the deep sense of emotion and adventure that oozes from every crevice of the film.

To summarize, “Shrek 2” is perhaps my favorite hour and a half of visual media ever created. It’s kept its sparkle through the years, and that is not something that “ch-ch-ch-changes” no matter how many times I watch it.


Gabi Merchen is a fourth-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Gabi Merchen
Gabi Merchen, Senior Writer
Gabi is a fifth-year transfer student from the University of Oklahoma (OU), now Gabi is looking to obtain her bachelor's degree in communication at USAO. She is from Yukon. She loves writing and has been contributing to local and scholastic publications since 2015. Gabi also participates in two choral groups on campus. When she isn't in class, Gabi likes to spend her time crafting, crocheting, and rewatching the same three sitcoms over and over again.   Experience with The Trend: Senior Writer: May 2023 - present Contributing Writer: Jan. 2023 - Apr. 2023