Thursday, May 27, 2004

on the way to watching shrek

Saturday night, last full show. Saw Z. with sorta-tisay girl. (Pan to Ri with deer-in-headlights look.) And I had been observing that I hadn't seen anyone I knew that night.

Text conversation:
Ri: Date? Enjoy the movie!
Z.: Haha. Actly ya :) tnx
Ri: Ligaw-date or together-date?
Z.: Together-date
Ri: (after bathroom break and banter with Bespren J and Gnu; Gnu: "You snuck a look at them when you passed no?") Oh, that's good to know. See yah!
(Okay, so it's been six years, one other ex and countless dates. Nagging voice at the back of my head: You do know it's really over right?)

So there, Z. has a girlfriend already. In case Ry or G. were wondering.

it's fun being green

I didn't really like Shrek. Not that I didn't think it was funny, because it was. It was also quite the breakthrough film, setting Dreamworks up as Pixar's staunchest rival for CGI supremacy. I think I was such a Disney/Pixar loyalist and felt nothing could come close. I was also not very enamored with Cameron Diaz. And, let's face it, that dude was ugly. Rightly funny, though. I enjoyed the pop-culture references immensely. Not to mention it featured the voice of one of my favorite actors, not-just-Monica-Belucci's-husband Vincent Cassel as Monsieur Hood.

This time around, the pop culture references whiz by so fast I'm sure I missed a couple of them, beginning from the honeymoon montage featuring flatulence jokes to LoTR to various jabs at Disney. The story takes a backseat to the various sight gags, one-liners and altogether abundant mirth of the movie. The Kingdom of Far Far Away, Princess Fiona's hometown, is a stylized Beverly Hills, complete with Starbucks, Tower (of London) Records and homes of the stars. The story has its requisite twists and turns, with shades of Guess of Coming to Dinner interspersed with the characterization of an almost-megalomaniac Fairy Godmother (shades of The Godfather) who will do everything to install her son Prince Charming as the next king. There are car chases (a COPS parody comes on) and an old friend does a Mission: Impossible. Meanwhile, Shrek must choose between his love for Fiona and the chance of providing her her happily-ever-after--of course, who doesn't know that those two come hand in hand?

Mike Myers with his brogue is not a wonderful thing to hear so I basically blotted him out of the movie (I know, he plays the title character, but still--). Now, taking Mike Myers out of our focus leads us to enjoy the movie even more. Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy reprise their roles as Fiona and Donkey, respectively, and the magic is still there. And Fiona's parents sound familiar--who wouldn't recognize the voice of the great Julie Andrews! And John Cleese to a lesser extent (although the drawing looked like Mel Brooks). Jennifer Saunders rounded out the cast as the scheming fairy godmother and Ruper Everett lent his wonderful droll voice to Prince Charming. Someone little and orange steals the movie, though--that deliciously funny Puss in Boots voiced by Antonio Banderas. Apparently his voice has wonderful comic timing; add to that wonderful animation and various fun things that the writers have Puss do... there's your entrance's worth (and more) right there. (I could have done without the Livin' La Vida Loca number though. A better song with the same visuals would have been twice as nice.)

Shrek was a hard act to follow, but Shrek 2 has succeeded quite well. I must give Shrek 2 props for providing me with much-needed mirth and sustained laugh-intensity all throughout the hundred or so well-spent minutes of my time. The CGI seems to have improved greatly over the first movie, too, with those great hair strands and the movement of the fabrics. The best drawn character is also Puss in Boots (ah, am not Banderas-biased mind you, this is a *cat*!)--the fine hairs are drawn perfectly and although Puss strides around on two feet, he looks positively feral. Almost everything, though, is predictable, from the backstory of Fiona's dad the king, to the eventual resolution, but then sometimes we need a nice safe hilarious romp of a movie to just give us a rollicking good time.

Best watched with good friends.

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