Shrek promo catches a ride with 'Sinbad'
By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY
When a cartoon sailor needs a helping hand at the box office, why not call on a big, green pal for help? No, not the Hulk. That lovable lump of an ogre, Shrek.
Those who purchase a children's ticket to Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas when it opens July 2 will receive one free read-along CD-ROM, Shrek and Fiona's Honeymoon Storybook, that offers an early taste of what to expect from next year's Shrek 2.
"This is Shrek 1½ " says DreamWorks co-chief Jeffrey Katzenberg. The giveaway will run through July 6 and rainchecks will be given if supplies run out.
The CD-ROM, narrated by John Cleese (the voice of Fiona's dad, King Harold, in Shrek 2) and based on the new Shrek 4-D attraction at Universal Studios theme parks, acts as a plot bridge between the two Shrek features: The honeymoon of Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) is disrupted by the ghost of Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow), who kidnaps the bride. Shrek, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Dragon must rescue her, and more jokes at the expense of fairy-tale favorites follow.
For those who hunger for more, Katzenberg reveals a few nuggets from Shrek 2, opening next June 18. And it's not exactly happily ever after for newlyweds Shrek and Fiona.
"Shrek 2 is about coming to terms with the fact that everything that happened in the first Shrek was a gigantic mistake," he says. "Shrek was not meant to rescue Fiona. Her true love was meant to be Prince Charming. There was a whole plan of what was going to happen to Fiona, her future and her kingdom, and Shrek has made a fine mess of all of it."
That means straightening out the tangled plot. "It begins with an invitation from Fiona's mom and dad, who, you recall, locked her away in a castle to await Prince Charming's kiss," he says. Fiona's folks, voiced by Julie Andrews as Queen Lillian, and Cleese, are in for a surprise when a rude, crude lime-hued dude arrives instead of a courtly prince. As Katzenberg says, "When Fiona steps out of the carriage, it's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?"
Other additions to Shrek 2 include Jennifer Saunders of TV's Absolutely Fabulous as the Fairy Godmother, Rupert Everett as Prince Charming and Antonio Banderas as Puss 'n Boots.
Says Katzenberg, "He and Donkey become rivals and, ultimately, buddies."
Though Sinbad features such star voices as Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones, it faces heavy competition. Says Mark Christiansen of DreamWorks theatrical distribution, "We're up against two mega-sequels (Legally Blonde 2:Red, White & Blonde and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). The CD-ROM will help Sinbad stand out."