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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.


Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris


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Movie review

Love at second sight

By BILLY NORRIS
Published May 24, 2004

photo
[DreamWorks Pictures]
Shrek, left, voiced by Mike Myers, mistakenly thinks Puss-in-Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas, is an adorable little kitty and decides to keep him in Shrek 2.

Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

Rating: PG

Summary: Shrek (voice of Mike Myers), and his new wife, Fiona (Cameron Diaz), have just returned from their honeymoon. They are invited to the kingdom of Far, Far Away by Fiona's parents, the king and queen (voiced superbly by John Cleese and Julie Andrews), who want to give the marriage their blessing. But surprise, surprise - they have no idea that Fiona and Shrek are ogres. The king is less than thrilled and enlists the help of a shrewd little kitty by the name of Puss-in-Boots (Antonio Banderas) to get rid of Shrek. The Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) is not all she's cracked up to be, and her son, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), is anything but. By the time Shrek figures out what's going on, he needs more than just a little help from his friends to right all the wrongs.

My View: You've heard the saying "leave well enough alone." Well, let's be glad that didn't happen. It had to be difficult to top the awesome and well-rounded 2001 flick Shrek. But those masterful artists and everyone else at DreamWorks somehow managed to do just that. The opening scene bears striking computer-generated animation that made my jaw drop. It was hard to believe it was animation. The attention to detail throughout the film is stunning - right down to the most real-looking animated facial hair you've ever seen. Every feature of every character looks as authentic as you could imagine it to be without being "real." That awareness extends to every other facet of the film - the sky, the water, the castles - everything. Look out, Pixar!

The original characters are back in all their glory, with the exception of Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). Donkey's mannerisms and the vocal inflections provided by Eddie Murphy are as hilarious as they were in the first movie. Puss-in-Boots is the cat's meow, though, and absolutely steals the show. That little cat's bug-eyed face is guaranteed to melt the hearts of cat lovers everywhere. Antonio Banderas works surprisingly well as the voice of such an enthusiastic, different character. His comic timing is impeccable. Fiona and Shrek almost take a back seat to Donkey and Puss-in-Boots, but that's okay.

Another part of this film's success is that it once again combines elements of numerous well-known fairy tales and nursery rhymes to create one giant new fairy tale that exceeds them all. The Three Blind Mice, the Muffin Man from Drury Lane, and the Gingerbread Man all are mainstays of this film. The sight gags offer tons of allusions to modern life (like a Starbucks on every corner) and give this movie a satirical edge that rounds it out as one of the best animated films ever.

Recommendations: Shrek 2 will have the widest appeal of any film released this summer, if not this year. And here's an extra tip: Be sure to stay in your seats until the credits have finished.

Grade: Shrek, you earned this one, buddy - A.

Billy Norris, 16, is in 11th grade at Seminole High and is a former member of the X-Team.

[Last modified May 21, 2004, 14:28:11]

Here's the rest of today's Xpress

  • Hot prospects
  • Send us your Xpressions
  • Calling all aspiring journalists

  • Book review
  • Life after high school

  • IT!
  • College calls, but family beckons too

  • Movie review
  • Love at second sight
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