Shrek 2 (2004)
Trailer-Shark Tale, Madagascar
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Kelly Asbury And Conrad Vernon (Directors)
Audio Commentary-Aron Warner (Producer) And Mike Andrews (Editor)
Featurette-The Tech of Shrek 2
Featurette-Meet The Cast
Featurette-Meet Puss In Boots
Featurette-The Music Of Shrek 2
Trailer-Lemony Snickets' A Series Of Unfortunate Events
Trailer-The Cat In The Hat, Thunderbirds
Notes-Far Far Away Times
Game-Far Far Away Idol
Music Highlights-Fiona's Jukebox
Song Lyrics-Sing Along With Fairy Godmother
Music Video-'Accidentally In Love' By Counting Crows
Custom Play-Favorite Scenes
Game-Interactive Map, Find Puss In Boots, Save Fiona!
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (34:01)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Universal Pictures Home Video
James McKee Smith
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Starbucks parody, for example.|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
The highest grossing film of 2004 and one of the highest grossing comedies ever, Shrek 2 continues the story of our lovable green swamp-dweller (Mike Myers) and his new bride Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) as they return from their romantic, whirlwind honeymoon. His trusty steed Donkey (Eddie Murphy) is by his side, as well as many of the other familiar fairytale characters recognisable from the highly successful first film. Given the popularity of this franchise, a third Shrek film is a certainty.
Upon returning home to their swamp, the newlyweds are accosted by an official royal reception, trumpets and all. It appears Princess Fiona's parents (the King and Queen) have caught wind of the wedding and want to make the nuptials officially known in their kingdom Far, Far Away - which happens to be literally Far, Far Away. The couple sets off to Fiona's homeland with Donkey in tow, only to find themselves less than welcome upon arrival. The King (John Cleese) doesn't approve of Princess Fiona's giant green Ogre husband, mainly due to a binding commitment with the Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) which involved him promising Fiona's hand in marriage to her son, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett). Undergoing repeated threats from the heavy-handed Fairy and at a loss as to what to do, the King hires a hit man - Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas) to remove Shrek from the equation, however Puss proves to be no more than a big pussycat who instantly befriends our green hero. Deep feelings of inadequacy in the new royal environment lead Shrek to the Fairy Godmother's potion factory, where he hopes to gain that certain hunky profile that he believes Fiona is craving.
One thing I can say about this sequel is that it certainly hits the mark as far as laughs are concerned. There's very few of the treacly emotional moments that were present in the first film, preferring here to rely more on the quick humour and visual gags that seemed to make the original so memorable. This is easily my personal favourite of the two.
A great wealth of voice talent has been cast for this sequel, including renowned comedians John Cleese as Fiona's father The King and Jennifer Saunders as the Fairy Godmother, who you certainly don't want to get on the bad side of. Rupert Everett is barely recognisable as the spoilt and pompous Prince Charming, and similarly with Julie Andrews who plays The Queen. All in all this is a great sequel, superior to the original in my opinion and a hilarious bit of fun for the family.
Before we move on to the transfer analysis, I should say a few words regarding the "all-new surprise ending" that has been heavily advertised. This is merely an extra that is automatically played after the feature ends. The above runtime doesn't include this extra material and neither does the video and audio analysis. Instead, I've covered it as an 'extra' and although it is rather funny on first viewing there doesn't appear to be any method of viewing the feature without it. I would like to hope that any future special editions of this film are free of forced introductory trailers and auto playback of extras after the feature.
NickJ interviewed Director Andrew Adamson after the first film was released on DVD, and the article is well worth a read if you haven't checked it out already. You'll find the article here.
This video transfer is as stunning as you would expect if you have seen the transfer of the previous Shrek film on DVD.
The transfer is presented in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.
This is a superbly sharp transfer. The most impressively subtle pieces of detail in the animation are visible, such as the fur on Puss' face at 32:27. The whole transfer has a clarity that is almost incomparable to live action films. Shadow detail and black levels are determined in the animation process and are not governed by the transfer to DVD, hence there are no scores allocated. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.
Colours are rich and bold during the feature, with not a single hint of bleeding or oversaturation to be seen. Colour rendering appears to be faithful to the first film and consistent throughout.
The video stream is encoded at a variable bitrate with an average of 6.8 Mb/s, although the bitrate often hovers as high as 9Mb/s. There are absolutely no MPEG compression issues to be concerned about. Since the video transfer appears to be derived from the digital source, no film artefacts have been allowed to sneak their way into the transfer.
English subtitles are provided and are generally accurate, though they often simplify some lines of dialogue. Musical numbers are introduced, giving the band's name and song title.
This disc is dual layered, with the transition placed during the feature at 34:01. The layer change is well placed and barely noticeable.
UPDATE 27/3/05: I originally reviewed this disc on my 76cm CRT, and recently upgraded my gear to a Sanyo LCD projector. Going back to the disc now, I can see some MPEG compression issues that were not evident on my smaller display. MPEG grain can be seen around objects in motion and within expanses of a single colour. I recall the overuse of compression was raised in one of the comments below, and it would certainly appear that a higher video bitrate should have been applied to this transfer. I have ammended my scoring accordingly.
There are five soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD. English, Spanish and Catalan languages are available in Dolby Digital 5.1, as well as two commentaries. The default soundtrack is determined by your choice in the language select menu which loads first when the disc is inserted. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and the two commentaries for the purposes of this review.
The English dialogue is crystal clear and easy to understand at all times. Audio sync is as perfect as you could get.
The use of the surround channels is relatively constant and enveloping, making for a great experience. The rear channels are used for all manner of sounds, ranging from the soundtrack score to dedicated effects. Voices are generally confined to the front centre channel and rarely stray.
The film's score is composed by Harry Gregson-Williams and is your typical orchestral fare, guiding the viewer through the emotional undulations of the film. The soundtrack is also peppered with lively pieces of contemporary rock, from artists such as Counting Crows, David Bowie and Eels.
The subwoofer or LFE channel is used to great effect, accentuating Foley sounds and effects throughout the film. Some of the best examples I noted were at 67:50 during some loud footsteps and also at 40:31 as the fairy casts a spell. There were certainly no instances of overuse when it came to low frequency effects, in fact I found the overall experience realistic and immersive.
|Surround Channel Use|
This is a great collection of extra material, considering this is only the single disc version. All of the material is presented in full frame video, with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio unless otherwise noted.
These trailers are unfortunately forced on the viewer prior to the main menu loading and cannot be skipped, however fast forwarding is thankfully allowed. Neither trailer is 16x9 enhanced. The Madagascar trailer is presented by Ben Stiller himself.
The menu is cleverly presented in a Brady Bunch style arrangement of squares, with nine of the characters interacting with each other now and then. This is the kind of menu that once you have seen, you don't really care about any longer and just want to skip. Worth noting is the very well conceived help menu, covering all of the menu pages and their options. Each of the nine menu options has a character to guide you, and playback of the feature begins automatically after two rotations of the main menu. All of the menu pages are 16x9 enhanced.
Conrad & Kelly discuss how they came to be involved with the Shrek 2 project and the PDI Animation company. Although they admit to being laymen when it comes to computer imagery, they touch upon the advances that have recently been made in CGI. Many alternate takes of scenes were storyboarded but not used, and these are also discussed. There's a lot of repetition in this commentary, but fortunately the directors have a lot of interesting insights to offer.
Aron & Mike aren't particularly interesting talkers and Mike's voice borders on a whisper throughout the commentary, which becomes a bit irritating. The pair point out many of the homage moments, many that I missed in fact. Some of the info here is similar to the other commentary, but interesting all the same.
Directors, Producers and animators discuss the technological advancements that make Shrek 2 superior to the first film, and how the animation succeeds in gaining further realism. This also includes a lot of not-very-subtle plugs for a certain electronics manufacturer. Running at only six minutes, it actually feels like the trailer for the proper making of.
A stream of gushing stars complement one another again and again. "You're the greatest!". "No no, I insist, you're the greatest!" You've seen this before, trust me.
As above, but focusing more closely on Antonio Banderas and his performance as the Puss In Boots character.
This featurette touches upon the musical contributions to the film from artists such as David Bowie and Pete Yorn. We also get to see some portions of the score being recorded. What does Counting Crows' singer Adam Duritz have to say about their song, Accidentally in Love? "It's about falling in love..... by accident" Riveting stuff.
These are a series of glitches that were encountered during production of the animation. Interesting, but no laugh-out-loud moments here.
This new Jim Carrey vehicle looks very much like a Tim Burton-style blend of Harry Potter and Spy Kids. Could be interesting.
Both of these are presented with 16x9 enhancement. Watching the ridiculous Thunderbirds trailer just builds my anticipation for Team America even more.
A series of parody news clippings, covering the events in the film. Some great Easter Eggs can be found here if you search around, most notably Fiona's diary and some great before and after photos of some characters.
Here we have the "all-new surprise ending", an Australian Idol-style contest between the main characters. After each of the characters sings an excerpt from a popular tune, the viewer is prompted to select a winner, which then activates an encore from the chosen character. With ten contestants, this means there are ten additional performances that can be viewed. Also featured is an appearance from renowned Idol judge Simon Cowell, offering sarcastic comments throughout. This extra is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.75:1 with 16x9 enhancement and also boasts Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The image is noticeably brighter than the feature and suffers from a little compression grain. When the feature flows directly into the Idol game, the video differences are quite obvious. The game is accessible from many different locations on the DVD.
This feature lists the musical highlights of the film and allows the viewer to skip directly to their favourite song.
If you were wondering what the lyrics are to the song that the Fairy Godmother sings to Fiona, then this is for you. Default subtitles automatically appear and strangely, the excerpt from the film is not 16x9 enhanced.
This a fairly standard clip, mixing memorable scenes from the film with shots of the band in the recording studio. The song is followed by a short commercial for the film's soundtrack CD.
This is a slightly more elaborate scene selection menu, offering links to scenes with particular characters and some of the funniest moments in the film.
Three games are here, all of which are playable with your remote control. First is an Interactive Map of Far, Far Away, which offers clips from the film relating directly with certain landmarks. Find Puss In Boots is a fairly simple hide and seek game that doesn't require much skill. Finally, Save Fiona! is a pretty entertaining quiz with a dozen or so questions relating to the film. When you get a right answer the corresponding scene is played back for you. The questions are identical each time you play, so there isn't a lot of repeat playability here.
I should first mention that these DVD-ROM features unfortunately aren't Mac compatible. Inserting the disc into your PC automatically opens your default internet browser, which loads a page with a language select menu. A "Shrek 2 DVD-ROM" menu loads, with links to:
As I mentioned above, in the Far, Far Away Times feature there are a lot of Eggs to be found - all of which are very easy if you use the up cursor on your remote.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
If you're a big fan of the film, the Region 4 2-Disc SE is definitely the way to go.
The video transfer is good, but suffers from some MPEG compression issues.
The audio transfer is highly immersive and effective.
The extras are extensive, although there are very few on this disc that I would consider viewing a second time.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-525, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|