Saw Shrek 2 yesterday.
Hadn’t been to a movie in a cinema in... well, I’m not sure how long it had been. The last movie I remember seeing in cinema was The Matrix Revolutions, and that was in November. The movies I’ve seen otherwise have been DVD rentals from Netflix, which I am still convinced is one of the single best entertainment services around.
But anyway. I didn’t see Shrek in a cinema. First time I saw it was on DVD, and I thought the premise was funny and it had some laugh-out-loud moments, but otherwise, it didn’t impress me so much. I saw it once, didn’t need to see it again.
This time around, I actually paid attention to the critical reviews. They were typically positive, if not outright adoring. Normally I take critics’ opinions with a grain of salt; most of them strike me as being utterly out of touch with the world, willing to heap praise upon many movies simply because they’re part of the sycophantic Hollywood machine and it keeps them in freebies and champagne. But for Shrek 2 I listened and decided to see it on opening day.
My showing started at noon. I got there about 11:45 and found a seat in the middle of the auditorium both ways, where in theory I’d be able to enjoy the full Digital Theater Sound Hell experience, and I was right. That experience began about 10 minutes before showtime when a reel of ads played at Death-Level volume. The only one I remembered was the ad for Hershey’s Kisses with caramel, and I’m pretty sure it’s because they played it twice. They really wanted us to know about those damned Kisses.
Anyway again. Movie started. The auditorium was sparsely populated—maybe 15 people total—and we were all pretty well spread out so there wasn’t a lot of noise. Not many kids either, so no crying or loud talking or the like either. It was nice.
They showed previews for a SpongeBob SquarePants movie—can anyone explain to me the appeal of this character, even for preschoolers?—and the upcoming Garfield movie, which looks stupid beyond belief. For one thing, the cat is computer-generated, looks way too cartoony. I’m sure they’ll say they meant it to look that way, but it just looks cheap. And the characters are cast stupidly—who buys Jennifer Love Hewitt as a veterinarian, and if they went to the trouble of CG for Garfield, why not do it for Odie too, so he could have the bug-eyes and long neck of the comic-strip character?
But finally the previews ended, and the feature presentation began after another commercial reel inviting us to visit the concession stands (where, by the way, they don’t put your “butter-flavor topping” on your popcorn—you do it yourself from pumps at the condiment stations in the lobby, guh).
The movie ran a little over 90 minutes. It held my attention but never elicited a great deal of response. Mainly I smiled a lot, chuckled once or twice, laughed out loud one time. The rest of the audience reacted similarly, except for the few kids who were there and experienced convulsive hysteria over the many fart jokes.
It’s good that computer animation has advanced to the point that a flap of cloth can be made to flutter believingly in the breeze caused by thunderous flatulence. Speaks well of our society, I believe.
I’m mystified by the critics’ response to this movie. Many of them said it was “as good as, or better than,” the original. I’m squarely in the camp with those who think the first part of that statement is true: Easily as good as the original. I’ve seen it once, never have to see it again. I can’t imagine why anyone would think it was better than the first, however. The two movies had the same general plot and the musical numbers in Shrek 2 seemed a lot more contrived or forced to me.
Far as I’m concerned, the second film was obviously made solely because the first enjoyed good box office, and the producers wanted to make more money. In an entertainment business driven solely by filthy lucre, that’s a much better reason to make a movie than anything as simple as, oh, say, because the first film was worthy of a sequel.