Tegan’s Throwback Thursday: Why “Shrek 2” is the best Shrek


Graphic by Sydney Lawson

“Shrek” is one of the most iconic film franchises to come from the 2000s. Here’s why “Shrek 2” is the best.

Tegan Ruhl, Staff Writer

With Netflix putting both “Shrek” and “Shrek 2” on its platform, I just had to bring attention to the iconic franchise. 

Obviously, “Shrek 2” is the best movie in the franchise, no doubt about it. I mentioned this to one of my colleagues the other day, and they disagreed saying the first “Shrek” was the best. 

I’m not trying to degrade anyone who says the first “Shrek” is the best. I love that movie, too. However, those people are wrong. 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the “Shrek” franchise, the first movie follows Shrek (Mike Myers). Shrek is a lonely ogre who enjoys his privacy because everyone is so afraid to be around him. However, when his swamp is infiltrated by fairytale creatures, Shrek accepts a quest from the ruler of the land, Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). With his newfound friend Donkey (Eddie Murphy), Shrek embarks to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and bring her back to Farquaad, so they can be married. Consequently, the ogre and the princess get along a lot better than one would assume.

“Shrek 2” follows almost directly after the first movie ends. Shrek and Fiona are newlyweds, and Fiona has received a message from her parents urging her to come back to her home of Far Far Away. Shrek, Fiona and Donkey all travel to see them. After making a shaky first impression on his new in-laws, Shrek worries he’s not good enough for Fiona. Stressed by the disapproving nature of the people around him, Shrek and Donkey embark on their own quest for a true happily ever after. 

I will not be comparing “Shrek the Third” and “Shrek Forever After” (the third and fourth installments of the franchise) to “Shrek 2.” This is pretty self-explanatory. I can take or leave the third movie, but the fourth one is out of the question. 

Let me explain why. 


1. The diversity of characters.

“Shrek 2” has an amazing lineup of memorable characters throughout the entire film, including the original lineup of characters from the first movie (Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, the gingerbread man, Pinocchio, etc). “Shrek 2” introduces arguably the most iconic supporting cast in the entire franchise. Namely, characters such as Fairy Godmother, Puss in Boots, Prince Charming, Ugly Stepsister, King Harold and Queen Lillian and, of course, Mongo, the giant gingerbread man. 

You can’t argue the characters in this movie aren’t amazing. They all add something different to the movie, helping “Shrek 2” become the iconic masterpiece it is. 


2. The real-world easter eggs.

The setting of “Shrek 2” takes place in Far Far Away, a nod to the real-life city of Hollywood. This resemblance is not only clever, but any viewer can tell there was an effort to make the setting feel real. From trying to model the medieval carriages off of actual models of cars, to the stores that line the streets resembling stores in the real world (Versarchery and Farbucks Coffee),  to the way the residents act and dress in high-class fashion, I appreciate the fantastical version of our world created in “Shrek 2.” 

Gingerbread Man drinking Farbucks Coffee (Photo courtesy of Dreamworks)

3. The music is fire.

I do not have to explain this point to anyone who has ever seen “Shrek 2.” The film features hits such as “Changes” by David Bowie, “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc,  “Livin La Vida Loca” by Eddie Murphy and so many more. Of course, I cannot forget…


4. “Holding Out For A Hero,” sung by Fairy Godmother.

AKA the most iconic scene in the entire movie. When Fairy Godmother changes into her sparkling red dress with red heels to match, everybody stops talking and starts paying attention. 

If you don’t like this scene, I have to seriously question you. How? How could anyone not like this scene? It’s amazing. It sets the mood for the montage that cuts between Fiona dancing with Prince Charming and Shrek infiltrating the castle to come and save her. When anyone mentions Shrek, that scene sticks out in my head. It’s the best scene in the whole movie, and you cannot tell me differently. 


5. “Sexy” Shrek.

“Sexy” is not exactly the word I want to use for Shrek, but that’s the way he and Donkey were described after they drank the Happily Ever After Potion. I don’t know why, but the idea of “sexy” Shrek is hilarious to me. I’m trying not to laugh right now just thinking about him. Making Shrek the ideal “prince charming” and Donkey the “valiant steed” made for a good kicker at the end of the story. Shrek and Fiona prove that a couple does not need to be the ideal version of themselves., Tthey just need to love each other for who they are. Other than that, “sexy” Shrek is just funny. 


6. The Dinner Scene

Another iconic scene in “Shrek 2.” The dinner scene where Shrek first meets Fiona’s parents is a tense scene that always stressed me out when I was younger. The throwing of food, condescending comments, and intense zoom-ins always put me on edge. Even watching the scene again as an adult, I can’t help but feel a little anxious. This scene, along with the scene in Fairy Godmother’s factory, are memorable for the way they were crafted and the tense mood they create.


7. “The American Idol DVD game, where if you picked wrong, Simon Cowell started singing instead.”

The DVD game is actually called Far Far Away Idol.I’ve always remembered it despite how obscene it is. The premise of the game was basically American Idol with the “Shrek 2” characters. You had 10 contestants, and each of them sang a song, and then you chose one as the winner.

However, according to Simon Cowell, your choice isn’t always right. There were only three valid options among the ten, and if you chose wrong, Simon Cowell declared himself the winner. I’m not joking. The obscurity of this stuck with me for well over ten years. I eventually convinced myself the whole experience wasn’t real until I saw a Tweet a year ago asking if anyone else remembered Far Far Away Idol or if it was just a fever dream. 

Unfortunately, it was not, yet, I’m still thankful I’m not the only one who thought they were crazy about the game on the “Shrek 2” DVD. 


Well, that’s pretty much all I have to say about “Shrek 2.” Again, I’m not trying to disregard the original “Shrek” in any way. I love that movie. However, it just doesn’t hit the same as “Shrek 2.” 

Considering the majority of us students on campus are 2000s babies, the Shrek franchise was a prominent part of our childhoods. Whether you liked the Shrek franchise or not, its prominence in pop and meme culture gives us all something to enjoy.