Shrek and Fiona return from their honeymoon to find they have been invited by Fiona's parents to a royal ball to celebrate their marriage. Shrek refuses to go at first, but Fiona talks him into it, and along with Donkey, they travel to the kingdom of Far Far Away. They meet Fiona's parents, King Harold and Queen Lillian, who are shocked to see both their daughter and son-in-law are ogres, with Harold particularly repulsed. At dinner, Shrek and Harold get into a heated argument over how Shrek and Fiona will raise their family, and Fiona, disgusted at Shrek and Harold's behavior, locks herself away in her room that evening. Shrek worries that he has lost his true love, particularly after finding her childhood diary and reading that she was once infatuated with Prince Charming.
Harold is reprimanded by the Fairy Godmother and Charming, her son, by reminding Harold that Charming was to marry Fiona in exchange for his own happy ending, and requests that he finds a way of getting rid of Shrek. Harold arranges for Shrek and Donkey to join him on a fictitious hunting trip, which actually is a trap to lure them into the hands of an assassin, Puss in Boots. However, Puss is unable to defeat Shrek and, revealing that he was paid by Harold, requests to come along and make amends. The three sneak into the Fairy Godmother's potion factory and steal a "Happily Ever After" potion that Shrek thinks will restore Fiona's love for him.
Shrek and Donkey both drink the potion and fall into a deep sleep, awakening the next morning to discover its effects: Shrek is now a handsome human, while Donkey has turned into an elegant white stallion. In order "to make the change permanent", Shrek must kiss Fiona "by midnight". Shrek, Donkey and Puss return to the castle to discover that the potion has transformed Fiona back into her former human self as well. However, the Fairy Godmother, having discovered the potion's theft, intercepts Shrek and sends Charming to pose as him and win Fiona's love. At the Fairy Godmother's urging, Shrek leaves the castle, thinking that the best way to make Fiona happy is to let her go.
To ensure that Fiona falls in love with Charming, the Fairy Godmother gives Harold a love potion to put into Fiona's tea. This exchange is overheard by Shrek, Donkey and Puss, who are soon later arrested by the royal guards and thrown into a dungeon. While the royal ball begins, several of Shrek's friends band together to free the trio. The gang creates a monster-sized gingerbread man, which breaks through the castle's defences so Shrek can prevent Charming from kissing Fiona. He is too late to stop them; instead of falling in love with Charming, though, Fiona knocks him out with a headbutt. Harold reveals that he never gave Fiona the love potion, whereupon the now enraged Fairy Godmother attacks Shrek. In the ensuing melee, Harold sacrifices himself to save Shrek; Harold's armour ricochets the Fairy Godmother's spell which disintegrates her into bubbles; it also returns Harold to his true form as the Frog Prince. He had used the Happily Ever After potion years before in order to marry Lillian, but she tells him that she loves him regardless of his appearance. Harold also gives his blessing to to Shrek and Fiona's marriage and apologizes for his earlier behaviour.
As the clock strikes midnight, Shrek offers to kiss Fiona to make the potion's effects permanent but Fiona stops him, saying she wants to live happily ever after with the ogre she married. They happily let the potion's effects wear off and they revert to their ogre forms, while Donkey changes back to his natural form as well, and the party resumes. After the party, the Dragon, who had previously romanced Donkey, arrives and reveals that they now have several dragon-donkey hybrid babies.Cameos
Joan Rivers' cameo marked the first time that a real person had been represented on screen by the Shrek animation team. Her part (though retaining her visual representation) was redubbed by presenter Kate Thornton for the United Kingdom release.
On the DVD Special Features and in the U.S. edition VHS (just before the credits), Simon Cowell appears as himself on Far Far Away Idol, a parody of American Idol. (see Home Media)
In 2001, soon after the original Shrek proved to be a hit, Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz negotiated an upfront payment of $10 million each for voicing a sequel to the film. That was significant rise from the $350,000 salary they were paid for the first film. According to Jeffrey Katzenberg, the executive producer of Shrek 2 and a co-founder of DreamWorks, who led the negotiations, the payments were probably the highest in the actors' entire careers. Each of the actors were expected to work between 15 and 18 hours in total. The film was produced with a US$70 million budget.
The screenwriters for the first film, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, insisted the film to be a traditional fairytale, but after disagreements with the producers, they left the project and were replaced by director Andrew Adamson. His writing of the film was inspired from Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, with the help of the co-directors for the film, who had spent most of the film's production in Northern California while Adamson spent most of the time with the voice actors in Glendale, California.
DreamWorks began production in 2001, which was actually before the first film was even completed. DreamWorks made sure there was something new to see in Shrek 2 by putting more human characters in the film than there were in its predecessor and improving their appearance, with the use of a few systems that dealt with hair and fur to improve its appearance and movement. The set up for all the characters was done in the first three years of production. Puss in Boots required a whole new set of tools in the film to handle his fur, belt and feather plume in his hat. The character also required an upgrade in the fur shader for his introduction in the film.
In an early version of Shrek 2, Shrek abdicated the throne, and called for a fairy tale election. Pinocchio's campaign was the "honesty" campaign, while Gingy's was a "smear" campaign. Director Andrew Adamson said it was overtly satiric and political, with many funny ideas, but "it was more intellectual than emotional".
According to production designer Guillaume Aretos, Shrek 2 appeared to be a lot darker than the original film; "There are a lot of medieval paintings and illustrations that we used quite a bit also. Other than that there are my own influences, which are classical paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries, but those are not as direct. In fact, nothing was absolutely direct. The design of Shrek is always a twist on reality anyway, so we tried to [pack] as much detail and interest as we could in the imagery."
The film's soundtrack features the song "Accidentally in Love" by Counting Crows, which the band's singer and songwriter Adam Duritz believes "fits into the movie because it's the story of people who fall in love who weren't supposed to fall in love." The soundtrack was composed by Harry Gregson Williams and John Powell.
In April 2004, the film was selected for competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
Shrek 2 was originally going be to released on June 18, 2004. The film was then moved forward from June 18, 2004, to May 21, 2004, however, due to "fan demand", it was released two days earlier from May 21, 2004, to May 19, 2004. A day before the film went to theaters, the first five minutes were shown on Nickelodeon's U-Pick Live.
Playing in 4,163 theaters over its first weekend in the United States, Shrek 2 was the first film with over 4,000 theaters in overall count; over 3,700 theaters was its count for an opening day.
In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation.
Shrek 2 was released on VHS and DVD on November 5, 2004 and on Game Boy Advance Video on November 17, 2005. A 3D-converted version of the film was released exclusively with select Samsung television sets on Blu-ray on December 1, 2010, along with the other three films of the series. A non-3D version was released on December 7, 2010, as part of Shrek: The Whole Story, and a stand-alone Blu-ray/DVD combo pack was released individually on August 30, 2011, along with the other two films of the series. A stand-alone 3D Blu-ray version of the film was released on November 1, 2011. The DVD release features two full-length commentary tracks, one by co-directors Conrad Vernon and Kelly Asbury, and a second by producer Aron Warner and editor Michael Andrews.
Far Far Away Idol is a special feature on the DVD and VHS release based on American Idol and guest starring Simon Cowell. Taking place right after Shrek 2 ends, the short features characters from Shrek compete in a sing-off while being judged by Shrek, Fiona, and Cowell.
After the performances, on the DVD release, the viewer gets to pick the winner. However, if any character outside of Shrek (along with Princess Fiona), Donkey, or Puss were selected, Cowell would refuse to accept the winner and proclaim himself the victor, leaping onto a table and performing his "own" rendition of "My Way". At the end of the VHS release, it gives a link to a website where the viewer can vote for their favorite to determine the ultimate winner. DreamWorks Animation announced on November 8, 2004, three days after the DVD and VHS release, that after over 750 thousand votes cast, the winner of the competition was Doris.
The film opened at #1 with a Friday-to-Sunday total of $108,037,878, and $128,983,060 since its Wednesday launch, from a then-record 4,163 theaters, for an average of $25,952 per theater over the weekend. At the time Shrek 2's Friday-to-Sunday total was the second-highest opening weekend, only trailing Spider-Man's $114,844,116. In addition, Saturday alone managed to obtain $44,797,042, making it the highest single day gross at the time, beating Spider-Man's first Saturday gross of $43,622,264. The film remained at #1 in its second weekend, grossing another $95,578,365 over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, narrowly beating out the $85,807,341 four-day tally of new opener The Day After Tomorrow. It spent ten weeks in the weekly Top 10 and remaining there until July 29, and stayed in theaters for 149 days (roughly twenty one weeks), closing on November 25, 2004. The film was released in the United Kingdom on July 2, 2004, and topped the country's box office for the next two weekends, before being dethroned by Spider-Man 2.
The film grossed $441,226,247 domestically (US and Canada) and $478,612,511 in foreign markets for a total of $919,838,758 worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of both 2004 and in its franchise. This also puts the film at 14th on the all time domestic box office list and 42nd on the worldwide box office list. The film sold an estimated 71,050,900 tickets in the US.
The film also took away the highest worldwide gross made by an animated feature, which was before held by Finding Nemo (2003), although the latter still had a higher overseas-only gross. With DVD sales and Shrek 2 merchandise estimated to total almost $800 million, the film (which was produced with a budget of $150 million) is DreamWorks' most profitable film to date.
Shrek 2 remained the highest-grossing animated film worldwide until the release of Toy Story 3 (2010), and held the record for the highest-grossing animated film at the North American box office until the release of Finding Dory (2016) as well as the highest-grossing non-Disney animated film at this box office. Disney's 3D re-releases of The Lion King (in 2011) and Finding Nemo (in 2012), Despicable Me 2 (in 2013), Disney's Frozen (also in 2013), Minions (in 2015), Zootopia (in 2016), Finding Dory (also in 2016), and Despicable Me 3 (in 2017) respectively, surpassed Shrek 2 and relegated it as the tenth highest-grossing animated film of all time.
Shrek 2 received positive reviews from critics, with many considering it as good or even better than its predecessor. On film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 88% based on 234 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It may not be as fresh as the original, but topical humor and colorful secondary characters make Shrek 2 a winner in its own right." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, saying it is "bright, lively, and entertaining", and Robert Denerstein of Denver Rocky Mountain News called it "sharply funny". James Kendrick praised the plot, calling it "familiar, but funny".
In contrast to the praise it received, even in some positive reviews, some critics said that the film wasn't as good as the original film. Peter Rainer of New York magazine stated the film "manages to undo much of what made its predecessor such a computer-generated joy ride."
Shrek 2 was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. It won five awards at the 31st People's Choice Awards: Favorite Animated Movie, Favorite Animated Movie Star for "Donkey" (Eddie Murphy), Favorite Movie Comedy, and Favorite Movie Villain for "Fairy Godmother" (Jennifer Saunders), and Favorite Sequel. It also won a Teen Choice Award in the category of Choice Award Choice Movie - Comedy.
Along with Shark Tale, the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but lost to The Incredibles. One of the film's songs, "Accidentally in Love" received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.
In 2008, the American Film Institute nominated the film for its Top 10 Animation Films list.Shrek 2 (Shrek 2: Team Action) (2004)
Shrek 2 Activity Center: Twisted Fairy Tale Fun (2004)
Shrek 2: Beg for Mercy (2004)
Shrek Super Slam (2005)
Shrek Smash n' Crash Racing (2006)
Shrek 2 has two sequels; they are Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After. A spin-off film Puss in Boots was released on October 28, 2011, and focuses on the character of Puss in Boots, who was introduced in this film.