When a new and unique character comes along, it can fire up the imagination of the audience. But, by the time the audience gets to the third or fourth outing with this character, it becomes a question of when to move on.
Though the shine is a bit faded from the previous two movies, it still sits comfortably within the world that the audience expects. Beyonce, as usual, excels in the part of Foxxy Cleopatra while giving proper due to the blaxploitation subgenre of the era.
I love this movie. Myers took what made the first movie the brilliant comedy that it is and explodes it tenfold. It is quotable, hilarious and one of the most perfect spoofs I’ve ever seen. Though it’s been years since I’ve seen it, I can still quote it.
The issue I have with the film is two-fold. Though Felicity is on par with Austin both sexually and as an agent of the law, she is also a love interest. Though it is par for the course for female characters, it kind of takes off some of the shine of her badassness for me.
There is also Fat Bastard (again, played by Myers). Though I am perfectly aware that this is a satire, I cannot overlook that he is a punchline merely because of his size.
The idea of not just one, but two movies coming out of a Saturday Night Live skit may seem like an impossible task. How does a writer take characters who are only seen for a few minutes on television and create a full-length film narrative?
It was done successfully in Wayne’s World (1992) and its sequel, Wayne’s World 2 (1993). Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) are dealing with two major issues at the same time. They are trying to put on a rock concert. While the concert is in limbo, Wayne’s rockstar girlfriend, Cassandra Wong (Tia Carrere) has caught the eye of a record executive, Bobby Cahn (Christopher Walken). Bobby wants more than a professional relationship with Cassandra.
Like its predecessor, it is incredibly funny and remains true to its small screen roots. The references may be over the head of someone who was either too young or not yet born, but that can be overcome. I just get a kick out of watching a movie that is almost 30 years old and still makes me laugh.
My favorite part is the end scene which is essentially a throwback to The Graduate. It’s both true to its source while still being in the world of this narrative.
My only complaint (which is with many movies, both then and now) is that the women are confined to either romantic or sexual roles. While Wayne and Cassandra are dealing with their issues, Garth meets an older woman, Honey Hornee (Kim Basinger). Her name invokes everything the audience needs to know about her.
The first film in a series is exciting and new. The possibilities are endless. By the time the third or fourth movies comes around, it takes a greater mind to invent news ways of moving the narrative along.
The fourth movie in the the Shrek series is Shrek Forever After. After the events of Shrek (2001), Shrek 2 (2004) and Shrek the Third (2007), Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) are dealing with the challenges of marriage and parenthood. Unable to deal with the stress of it all, he wishes that he was a real ogre. Rumpelstiltskin (Walter Dohrn) grants his wish. At first, he is content with his new life.
Then Shrek realizes that he has been setup. Before he can stop Rumpelstiltskin, he has to first convince Fiona, Donkey (Eddie Murphy), and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), who do not know him, to fight against their common enemy.
To say that the creators stretched whatever narrative ideas they had is an understatement. They get an A for effort, but little else.
The third film in a series can travel into narrative territory that is not always clear. It can enhance the narrative and the characters, taking both in new directions. It can also be a disappointment if it lacks what its predecessors special.
Shrek the Third (2007) is the sequel to Shrek (2001) and Shrek 2 (2004). With the death of his father-in-law, Shrek (Mike Myers) is now the new King of Far Far Away. It goes without saying that he is not the right person for the job. The next in line is Artie (Justin Timberlake), but he is not exactly keen on embracing his future role. It is up to Shrek, Donkey (Eddie Murphy), and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to convince him to accept his destiny.
Meanwhile, Fiona (Cameron Diaz) is pregnant and dealing with a very angry Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), who is planning to take what he believes was his to begin with.
The spark is somewhat diminished if we are comparing Shrek the Third to the first two movies. It’s almost a stretch, but it could be worse. Though my feminist self asks why Fiona, as the child of the King (John Cleese) and Queen (Julie Andrews), is not the next in line (thank you primogeniture), I appreciated that it was the princesses who saved the day.
Shrek 2 takes place just after the ending of Shrek (2001). Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) are in the midst of newlywed bliss when an invitation from her parents arrives at their doorstep. Traveling to the kingdom of Far Far away with Donkey (Eddie Murphy), they are initially given a warm welcome. That welcome is quickly rescinded by the King (John Cleese) and Queen (Julie Andrews), who are shocked and well, unhappy about their daughter’s choice of a spouse.
Among movie sequels, this one is near the top of my list. The film takes what made its predecessor successful and builds on it. It expands the world and the characters while using the same humor and heart of the first movie. What I personally love is that it represents a reality that is something not seen on screen and not seen in fairy tales. It shows that even in the happiest of families and the seemingly most perfect of marriages, there are still problems and conflicts.
Based off the Saturday Night Live skit of the same name, star and co-writer Mike Myers was able to turn a three-minute sketch into one of the funniest movies from the early 1990’s.
I think one of the qualities that makes this movie so appealing is that Wayne and Garth are so ordinary. They’re just two guys filming a TV show in a suburban basement. That’s it. It’s so simple, but it works. While some of the references are a bit dated, these characters are not. Anyone could do the same thing today with a video camera and a youtube account. If I could put a finger on what makes this movie funny, I would. I can’t explain it, but it is hilarious, absolutely brilliant and the screenplay has some of the funniest lines I’ve ever heard.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I think that the scene where they are singing Bohemian Rhapsody is in the car just so perfect.
If you have not seen this movie, I recommend that you see it immediately. I promise that you will laugh. It’s just that good.
Happy Friday and to all my readers, have a good weekend.
In 1997, Mike Myers created one of the most unique and unforgettable characters ever to appear on the big screen: Austin Powers.
In Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery, Austin Powers ( Mike Myers) is internationally known as a spy in the 1960s. When his nemesis, Dr. Evil (also Mike Myers) is frozen, Austin is frozen. Warmed up and woken up 30 years later, he finds that the world has changed. His former partner, Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers) has long since retired. But her daughter, Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley) has followed in the family business. Dr. Evil has also woken up and is eager to continue on where he left off. It’s up Austin and Vanessa to stop Dr. Evil once more.
This movie is the perfect send off of the just a little too serious James Bond movies of the 1960’s. While respecting the groundwork that the James Bond series created, Myers also delivers a perfectly timed pie in the face satire of the spy movies of the era. After 17 years, this movie still holds it’s own.
Fairy tale male leads are often a certain type. Tall, dark, handsome, charming and maybe a little flawed, just to make him interesting. He is the one who not only rescues the princess, but also marries her. Their happily ever after and ride into the sunset is predictable from the word go.
Shrek (2001) smashed this stereotype, forever altering the way we see the male lead character in fairy tales.
Shrek (Mike Myers) is an ogre. He is rude, smelly, keeps to himself and not the image that a female would conjure up when she thinks of Prince Charming. Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) starts to encroach on Shrek’s swamp. Shrek makes a deal with Lord Farquaad to rescue his intended, Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and bring her back to his kingdom. If Shrek agrees and bring bring the princess, he will be left in peace for the rest of his days. Traveling with Shrek is Donkey (Eddie Murphy), a talking ass who is part sarcasm, part performer and part wise old man.
Did Shrek break the mold for fairy tales? No. Did the story have the predictable, typical happy ending? Of course. But what this movie does brilliantly is to take the stereotypes of genre, flip it on the head and skewer in a way that is pure genius. The twist in this story (which I will not share, in case anyone has not seen this movie), certainly goes a long way in redeeming the standard ending.
Do I recommend this movie? Sure. Do I recommend the sequels? Let me put it this way. Outside of Star Wars, Star Trek and a handful of the most recent superhero movies, most movies that have multiple sequels begin to loose their steam after a while. The sequels that followed this movie are among the movie sequels that will never be as good as the first.
Wayne’s World, Wayne’s World, Party Time, Excellent……
In 1988, via Saturday Night Live, we were introduced to Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey), two guys who produced a local late night cable access show from Wayne’s basement.
Four years later, Wayne’s World, the movie premiered. Reprising and stretching their characters, Wayne and Garth are still producing their show in Wayne’s basement via the local access cable network. Wayne has been dating Cassandra (Tia Carrere) the front woman of an emerging rock band. When Cassandra’s band is offered a record contract, by Benjamin Oliver (Rob Lowe), Wayne begins to suspect that he has ulterior motives.
This movie is incredibly funny and quotable. There is a reason why Wayne’s World is one of the best SNL skits in the show’s 30+ years on the air. I recommend this movie