Shrek 2 Script Teardown - Featured -StudioBinder

The Shrek 2 script laid the groundwork for one of the most successful sequels in cinema history. In this article, we’re going to look at quotes and plot in the screenplay and then analyze how the story subverts fairytale tropes. But before we get into the script breakdown, let’s review the Shrek 2 summary and don’t forget to download the entire Shrek 2 script to copy and paste it into your brain!  

SHREK 2 PDF Download

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The Shrek 2 Script Teardown - Joss Whedon Headshot - StudioBinder
The Shrek 2 Script Teardown - Joss Whedon Headshot - StudioBinder
The Shrek 2 Script Teardown - Joss Whedon Headshot - StudioBinder
The Shrek 2 Script Teardown - Joss Whedon Headshot - StudioBinder

WRITING CREDITS

Who wrote the Shrek 2 script?

Andrew Adamson, Joe Stillman, J. David Stem, and David N. Weiss.

Adamson is a New Zealand born filmmaker who directed the first Shrek, then wrote the story for and directed Shrek 2.

Stillman is an American screenwriter who has worked on animated television shows like King of the Hill and Doug.

Weiss is an American Screenwriter who is perhaps best known for his work on All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Stem is an American screenwriter with credits on animated shows like Rugrats and feature films such as The Smurfs.

STORY BREAKDOWN

STRUCTURE OF THE SHREK 2 SCREENPLAY

Here is the story structure for the Shrek 2 screenplay:

Exposition

Prince Charming goes on an adventure through “blistering colds and scorching deserts” to save Princess Fiona. However, he arrives to find a Wolf in her stead, as Fiona left long before with Shrek to be married.

Inciting Incident

Fiona’s parents, the King and Queen, invite the newlyweds to be honored together for the whole kingdom to see. Shrek doubts the good intentions of the Royal family but agrees to go because Fiona says she wants to.

Plot Point One

Shrek and his mighty steed Donkey continue their verbally cantankerous relationship en route to the King’s castle.

Rising Action

The two parties converge; Shrek and the King immediately get into a verbal spat. This leads to a subsequent argument between Shrek and Fiona.

Rising Action Two

Meanwhile, the King meets with Fiona’s Fairy Godmother. It’s revealed that Prince Charming was arranged to marry Fiona but Shrek rescued her first. The King promises that Fiona and Charming will end up together.

Midpoint

Shrek accepts an invitation to go hunting with the King. However, he’s ambushed along the way by Puss in Boots, who reveals that he was hired by the King to attack Shrek.

Plot Point Two

Shrek steals a beautification potion from the Fairy Godmother and drinks it. Donkey tells Fiona that Shrek is now a handsome man, not an ogre, but he’s missing.

Build Up

The Fairy Godmother concocts a plan to use another potion to have Fiona fall in love with the next person she kisses. Charming pretends to be Shrek but Fiona sees right through the facade.

Climax

Charming kisses Fiona, but the King saves her from taking the Fairy Godmother’s potion. Shrek arrives and the two lock lips and decide to embrace their “ogreness.”

Finale

The King is turned into a frog by the Fairy Godmother but the Queen expresses that she loves him even more for accepting her daughter for who she is.

Shrek 2 Script Takeaway #1

The best Shrek 2 quotes

One of the main reasons why Shrek 2 works so well as a film is because the script has great dialogue. As a result of the great dialogue, the film also has some excellent quotes. 

In this scene, three distinct and expressive characters: Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots, get into a verbal spat.

Shrek 2 Quotes  •  Puss in Boots Encounter  •  Read Full Scene

Through this absurdist exchange, we see how the screenwriters create a brisk pace with dialogue. Each character in the scene speaks with a distinct use of verbiage.

Take these three quotes for example:

Shrek - “Well, well, well, Donkey. I know it was kind of a tender moment back there, but the purring?”

Donkey - “Look out, Shrek! He got a piece!”

Puss in Boots - “It was nothing personal, Señor. I was doing it only for my family. My mother, she is sick. And my father lives off the garbage!”

Shrek 2 Quotes  •  Puss in Boots Clip

The screenwriters of Shrek 2 do a great job here of making the characters stand out with how they talk; which essentially is what gives them a “voice.” Oh, and it certainly helps when those same characters are voiced by Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Antonio Banderas.

SHREK 2 SCRIPT TAKEAWAY #2

Inside the Shrek 2 plot

The Shrek 2 plot is actually very straightforward. With a script just 46 pages long, it certainly has to be!

The reason why the Shrek 2 script is so short is because it doesn’t include the musical numbers from the film.

Early in the film’s development, Dreamworks leadership decided to shift the story’s focus from a traditional fairytale to something more meta, and more creative. As a result of this decision, Andrew Adamson, director of the first Shrek, inherited the duty of not only directing its sequel but writing its script as well.

According to Hollywood biographer Alex Ben Block, Adamson’s story for Shrek 2 was inspired by the 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, a landmark picture about interracial marriage.

In this next scene, we can see how the allegory of “ogres (Shrek)” and “others (Donkey)” might be a subtextual reference to race.

Shrek 2 Screenplay  •  A Royal Introduction  •  Read Full Scene

It’s clear long before Shrek and Fiona’s father (the King) meet face to face that he’s already been deemed unfit for Fiona’s hand in marriage. This is essentially because Shrek is discriminated against because he’s an ogre.

When the two parties do meet face to face, Shrek is met with hostility, which he responds to in equal measure.

Shrek 2 Plot  •  Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Notice any difference between these scenes from script to screen? The location of this interaction is changed from the EXT. CASTLE to the INT. DINING CHAMBER; seemingly a direct reference to the Stanley Kramer film, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

SHREK 2 SCRIPT TAKEAWAY #3

Shrek 2 - A Fairytale Commentary

Everybody, at one point or another, has read a fairytale; that’s one reason why the Shrek franchise has been so successful. Shrek 2  takes a proven fairytale trope (rescued by Prince Charming) and flips it on its head.

Next, we’re going to look at a scene in which the Fairy Godmother explains why Shrek doesn’t fit into the “Disney” fairytale structure.

Shrek 2 Screenplay  •  Nobody Loves an Ogre  •  Read Full Scene 

Shrek tells the fairy Godmother that Fiona’s not happy with him. How does she respond? By saying that he doesn’t conform to the Prince Charming trope.

Who does conform to this trope? Ahem-her son-Prince Charming.

By telling him that “ogres don’t have happy endings,” the Fairy Godmother creates major internal conflict within Shrek. He begins to doubt whether or not he can bring Fiona the happiness she deserves.

Shrek 2  •  Shrek Asks FG for Help

In the end, this conflict is clearly resolved, as Shrek and Fiona decide that they love each other for who they are, ogre and all.

It’s a rather simple deconstruction of the fairytale narrative, but it works to great effect nonetheless.

UP NEXT

Shrek Script Analysis

Shrek 2 is an excellent sequel but it’s built on the back of its predecessor. In this next article, we break down the script for Shrek, paying special attention to the aspects that made it the foundation for a box office hit and one of the most successful movie franchises ever. 

Up Next: Shrek Script Teardown →
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