The producers swear that when they decided to put a Sir Justin Timberlake poster above Princess Fiona's bed, they had no idea that Cameron Diaz had just started dating the singer in real life. Timberlake would later be given a role in the sequel, Shrek the Third (2007) .
There are some other spoofs of famous signs and stores in the background of Far Far Away: Burger Prince (Burger King) Olde Knavery (Old Navy) Far Far Away sign (Hollywood sign) Saxon Fifth Avenue (Saks Fifth Avenue) Romeo Drive (Rodeo Drive) Versarchery (Versace) Gap Queen (Gap Kids) Farbucks Coffee (Starbucks) Friar's Fat Boy (Bob's Big Boy) Tower of London Records (Tower Records) Baskin Robinhood (Baskin Robbins ice cream) FFPS (USPS) Barney's Old York (Barney's New York)FFAPD (Far far away PD - LAPD / NYPD / NOPD, etc.)
In the police montage, the camera following a "white bronco," is a direct reference to the infamous 1994 California highway chase where cops were chasing O.J. Simpson in a white Ford Bronco. The montage's camerawork and overall appearance resembles the appearance of the television show Cops (1989).
When Shrek, Donkey, and Puss are escaping Fairy Godmother's factory, Shrek tips over a large container filled with a liquid potion. The potion transforms all the people on the factory floor. Two people are transformed into Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast (1991).
The Spanish phrase that Puss in Boots says after he is accidentally thrown off of Donkey (¡Hey tú, pedazo de carne con patas, ¿Cómo te atreves a hacerme esto!?) roughly translates to "How dare you do this to me, you four-legged bag of meat!".
Just after Shrek, Donkey and Puss find shelter in the barn after the rain, Donkey and Shrek pass out due to the potion. Just before Donkey passes out he says "I'm coming, Elizabeth!" - this is what Redd Foxx's character Fred Sanford used to say on the sitcom Sanford and Son (1972) every time he feigned a heart attack.
In the scene when Queen Lillian and King Harold are in the castle courtyard doing preparations for the wedding ball, in the distant background, a castle employee is seen climbing a ladder that leads to nothing and falls off just a second before the camera turns away.
The potion which Fairy Godmother gives to the King to make Fiona fall in love with the first man she kisses is labeled "IX", making the bottle "Love Potion Number 9". ("Love Potion No. 9" is a popular song.)
The scene when Shrek, Puss, and Donkey walk in on Fairy Godmother while she's pouring potion ingredients into a large cauldron is a nod to a scene in Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989) when Ursula is preparing the spell to make Ariel human. Jennifer Saunders (who voices the Fairy Godmother) had originally auditioned for the role of Ursula (but was turned down) and was cast for her role in Shrek 2 (2004) after Steven Spielberg heard Saunders performance on the audition tape.
When Shrek, Donkey and Puss are in the bar, Puss is drinking milk. There is a bottle of milk beside him with a label of a bull with curly hair. This is a deliberate caricature of Antonio Banderas who voices Puss.
When Puss first attacks Shrek, he carves a "P" into the tree; a reference to Antonio Banderas (the voice of Puss) who also played Zorro in The Mask of Zorro (1998). Another reference is when Puss and Donkey are inspecting Shrek's new set of clothes after robbing the carriage, and remark "Not bad. Not bad at all."; the same lines were used during the sword fight between Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in that movie.
In the scene where King Harold and Queen Lillian are in talking in their bedroom, Queen Lillian is reading a book called 'Kings are From Mars, Queens are From Venus' (an obvious nod to the real-life book 'Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus').
For the "Hair Ball" sequence, actor Antonio Banderas has said that he strained his voice over a long period of time. He was also appearing nightly in "9" on Broadway. The octave range for the musical had to be lowered due to the vocal strain. It also took three hours to record just right.
In the scene where Mongo is approaching the castle, a frightened group of patrons run from a Farbucks coffee shop across the street into another Farbucks. This is a reference to Lewis Black's comedy routine "The End of the Universe" in which he claims that the end of the universe is finding a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks.
Before Shrek 2 (2004) was released, and was in production, Dreamworks released a special presentation at Universal Studios, called Shrek 4-D (2003). A 3D show of Shrek, it showed Farquaad's soul coming back to haunt Shrek and Fiona, and Dragon and Donkey helping them overcome him. It was originally a plot for Shrek 2 (2004), but the writer of the book disagreed on it.
On the premiere day of Shrek 2 (2004) in Italy, the distribution agency completely purchased the commercial space of the top seller sports newspaper "La Gazzetta dello Sport". The trademark of "Gazzetta" is that it has been printed on pink paper for more than a century - and for the occasion the issue was released in green paper. Half of the cost of the operation (about 120,000 euros) was given to charity.
There are many references to the Lord of the Rings in the film. When Shrek gives Fiona her ring, it comes from the flames and magically slips onto her finger, the words "I love you" then appear on the ring, glowing and in the same Elvish font from Lord of the Rings. It is also done in the same cinematic angle. The Poison Apple tavern is meant to tip the hat to the inn (The Prancing Pony) seen in Fellowship of the Ring. Also, in the first Shrek film, the mountain where Fiona is held in the castle closely resembles the volcano in Mordor, Mount Doom.
The Counting Crows song that plays during Shrek and Fiona's honeymoon montage replaced a track by Weezer which didn't quite fit to the timings of the visuals. When the Crows came on board, they however had to ensure that their new track did, as the visuals had already been locked down and couldn't be changed.
The Wolf is found reading a magazine named Pork Illustrated with the front page featuring an image of a posed pig in a bikini. This is a spoof of the swimsuit issue of the magazine Sports Illustrated. In the trailers, however, the magazine is "The New Porker".
When Puss is in the Poison Apple Tavern, he is sitting and drinking his milk. He says that he hates Mondays. This is a reference to Garfield, who had a Live Action Film the same year as Shrek 2 (2004), as they both are ginger tabby cats and Garfield also hates Mondays.
The BBFC gave this film a U certificate for its cinema release in the UK. Many parents complained about this, as there are numerous occasions where the fairy godmother says 'bloody', which some consider an offensive word.
Puss in Boots is the third character with a different accent, to the character in the original tale. Instead of French it's Spanish, likewise (Robin) Hood's is French instead of English and Pinocchio's is plain English instead of Italian.
In the scene where Gingi, Pinocchio, the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Blind Mice, and the Three Little Pigs are shocked into silence after seeing Shrek captured on "Knights", the positions of the Three Little Pigs resemble those of the Three Wise Monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil) - the little pig with the yellow baseball cap has his hooves over his eyes, the little pig with the train engineer's hat has his hooves over his ears, and the little pig with the straw hat has his hooves over his mouth.
While escaping the potion room, after sliding under the closing door, Puss reaches for his hat. This is a reference to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the The Temple of Doom (1984), when Indiana Jones reaches for his fedora at the last second under closing doors. Additionally, when the potion barrel is tipped over, this is also a reference to Indiana Jones, where in The Temple of Doom, they escape the mine shaft after Mola Ram tells his assistants to tip over a large tank of water. Even more so, Shrek escaping by zip lining is another signature Indiana Jones stunt.
Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, Oscar nominees for writing the screenplay to the first "Shrek", opted out of returning for the sequel as they felt that the basis for the storyline needed to be a traditional fairytale and disagreed with the producers' choice to follow a different plot line.
The first Dreamworks movie to use the new Dreamworks Animation logo, which would be unique to the Animated Dreamworks films, with it being the first one to come under the studio's own Animation Department.
When Donkey and Puss emerge from their hiding place inside the metal cart in Dama Fortuna's factory, Donkey references Puss' "fine Corinthian footwear". This is a reference to the Chrysler Cordoba commercials featuring Ricardo Montalban pitching their "fine Corinthian leather" interiors.
The pickup line used by the donkey when the carriage is driving through Far Far Away - "Hey, good looking. We'll be back to pick you up later" - is taken from a 1970s commercial for Mr. Microphone, which turned any radio or stereo system with an FM tuner into a PA for a hand-held wireless microphone. This line was also used, under very different circumstances, in the Death Proof (2007) segment that Quentin Tarantino directed for Grindhouse (2007).
The re-united Pixies recorded a new song together (their first output in 12 years), written by Kim Deal, called "Bam Thwok," which was originally written for the soundtrack to 'Shrek 2'. But the movie company chose a song by Counting Crows instead, and "Bam Thwok" ended up helping to inaugurate the European version of iTunes.
Most of the promotional artwork produced for the film during its initial release near-universally depict Puss in Boots wearing his cape, despite the fact that he almost immediately discards it in his first scene and is never shown wearing it again.
On the DVD and VHS release of the film, the alternate ending titled "Far Far Away Idol" is featured and the characters sing 11 hit songs. In the end, you choose the winner. However, the host of the game, Simon Cowell, will refuse to let any other character (aside from Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, and Puss), and he will proclaim himself as the victor. On the VHS release, a link was included to vote for the ultimate champion, who, after only three days, DreamWorks announced that after 750,000 votes, Doris was the winner.
When Shrek, Fiona and Donkey first enter Far Far Away, the camera pans over a distinctive Far Far Away sign at street level (as opposed to the huge one in the hills that resembles the "Hollywood" sign). The street-level sign is an obvious parody of the official "Beverly Hills" sign that welcomes visitors as they enter the city via certain boulevards. The sign is also used as the official city logo.
In the scene where Mongo is entering Far Far Away, he walks down the street and a group of people are seen running from one building to another, where they seem to feel more safe. In a reference to the vast growth of Starbucks, both the building they started in and the one they ran to across the street are Farbucks coffee shops, parodying the number of starbucks in large cities.
Prince Charming uses an arrow and a rope to cross through the river of lava. Remember in the first Shrek (2001) movie, while Shrek, Fiona and Donkey were escaping from the dragon, the fragile bridge was completely destroyed as they were escaping.
The shot of people running out of one Farbucks coffee shop, crossing the street, and running into another Farbucks coffee shop, is based on the real-life intersection of Shepherd and West Gray, in Houston, Texas. There are now (January 2017) three Starbucks located on three corners of that intersection.
Like Wolverine from X-Men (2000) and The Huntsman from Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Puss in Boots would go on to have his own spin-off film. Puss in Boots (2011) is a prequel to Shrek 2 (2004) and takes place years before Puss in Boots met Shrek and Donkey and the spin-off followed Puss in Boots, as he sets out to clear his name and search for the eggs of the mythical golden goose with help from former friend turned enemy Humpty Dumpty and the thief Kitty Softpaws.
The last Dreamworks Animation film to be worked on by Cody Cameron before he'd move on to work for Sony Animation while they were still in early production with their first film, Open Season (2006), in which Cameron voiced a character in and its sequels, who, like the Three Pigs, has a German accent. Cameron would still return to voice the Three Pigs and Pinocchio again in the other Shrek films.
The first animated film in history to gross over $900 million worldwide. Now, 14 years later, only nine others have achieved this feat. Toy Story 3 (2010), The Lion King (1994), Finding Nemo (2003), Despicable Me 2 (2013), Frozen (2013), Minions (2015), Zootopia (2016), Finding Dory (2016), and Despicable Me 3 (2017). All surpassed Shrek 2 in the process, though The Lion King and Finding Nemo only achieved this because of re-releases.
In the Norwegian dub, when Shrek, Fiona and Donkey drive to Far Far Away, instead of singing Rawhide, Donkey begins singing an old Norwegian song of the "Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall" type, about how many people it takes to pull a root out of the ground. The song fades out with the scene, and then fades back in again, with Donkey having gotten to several hundred people when he messes up the lyrics and forgets where he was in the song. "Oh well," he says cheerfully. "I'll take it from the top!"
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
There are numerous references to the King being a frog throughout the movie: - He has a painting of his human self standing over a pond, next to his bed. - His wife reminds him of their first date by the lily pond, their "first kiss". - His bed sheets and most of his furniture are leafy green. - Above his and Queen Lillian's bed hangs a giant tapestry of a pond filled with lily pads. - A female frog in the bar asks him, "Do I know you?" - He calls Queen Lillian "Lilly" as in lily pad. - Fairy Godmother threatens to send him back to the pond, if he doesn't get Fiona and Prince Charming together, and fall in love. - The King's revulsion to living in a swamp hints at his own living in one. When the King offers Princess Fiona a cup of tea, he tells her that he has changed a lot for her mother.
When Shrek, Puss, and Donkey are galloping away from The Fairy Godmother outside the pub, the Fairy Godmother shouts "Thieves! Bandits!" A reference to when Gollum's ring is taken by Bilbo in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.
At the end of the film, King Harold (voiced by John Cleese) is revealed to be the former Frog Prince. In an earlier animated film, The Swan Princess (1994), Cleese voiced the character Jean-Bob, a frog who believes he is really a prince.
At the beginning of the movie, Donkey says he left Dragoness because she was in a really bad mood lately. This hints at her pregnancy, that's why she returns with Donkey's children at the end of the movie.
When King Harrold gets zapped by Fairy Godmother's wand, turning him into a frog, at first, all you can see is a pile of clothes and armor, making the characters think he is dead, then, you hear a croak. After that, Gingie says: 'He croaked'. 'Croak' is as well as the sound a frog makes, a slang word for 'die' or 'death'.