DreamWorks Pictures' "Shrek 2" had a lot of people seeing green this past weekend, as it trampled several box office records on its way to the top slot.

The animated sequel sold $128.9 million in its first five days, beating the previous record for a Wednesday release of $124.1 million by "The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King" last December.

For the three days beginning Friday, the traditional start of the weekend box office, "Shrek 2" earned $104.3 million, making it the second-best opener behind "Spider-Man," which kicked off its run with $114.8 million in 2002.

"Shrek 2" also set a new record for an animated opening, drowning the $70 million that "Finding Nemo" opened with a year ago. The three-day tally for "Shrek 2" also ranks as the best opening so far this year, ahead of "The Passion of the Christ," which debuted with $89.3 million in February.

The first "Shrek," which was released in May 2001, opened with $42.4 million during its first weekend, and went on to bring in $267.7 million domestically.

The last we've seen of Shrek (voice of Mike Myers) and his new wife Princess Fiona (voice of Cameron Diaz), they were in a carriage heading off to their honeymoon. The happy couple are frolicking on the beach, where Shrek accidentally kisses a mermaid, to which Fiona sends the female fish airborne.

After indulging in wedded bliss, Shrek and Fiona make their way back to her homeland of Far, Far Away to notify her parents, King Harold (voice of John Cleese) and Queen Lillian (voice of Julie Andrews), of the good news. Along for the ride is Donkey (voice of Eddie Murphy), who constantly asks "Are we there yet?"

In the meantime, traditional fairy tale hero Prince Charming (voice of Rupert Everett) is literally oblivious to this current scenario, as he's seen on his trusty steed, traveling through deserts and snowdrifts onward to "rescue" Princess Fiona. Upon arriving at the castle, minus the dragon, Prince Charming discovers not Fiona, but another legendary fairy tale figure sleeping in her bed.

Emphatically dismayed, Charming looks for retribution from his mother, Fairy Godmother (voice of Jennifer Saunders), who is reminiscent of Megan Mullally's "Karen" from Will & Grace. The Godmother, who operates a vast factory of assorted hexes and potions, plots to get rid of Shrek so Prince Charming can rightfully marry Princess Fiona.

Shrek, Fiona and Donkey finally arrive at her parents' castle, and the pageantry begins. A basket of doves are soon released, only to have one fly into the castle wall and drop dead at Harold's feet. That doesn't compare to the shock of Fiona's parents as they discover not only did their daughter wed an ogre, but she's been transformed into one as well.

As I can attest, making a good impression upon in-laws isn't the easiest thing to do, and Shrek immediately finds himself butting heads with King Harold. While this causes a riff between the newlyweds, it's Harold and Godmother who set forth with their evil scheme.

There are laughs abounding with "Shrek 2," as it manages to please both young and old alike. The jokes aren't that childish, nor are they too sophisticated to where kids wouldn't understand. In fact, the jokes sometimes are as fast and furious as the non-stop comments coming from Donkey, who has his own personal issues to deal with during this film.

Returning to "Shrek 2" are the Gingerbread Man and the Three Blind Mice, along with new character Puss-in-Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas), introduced as a part of Harold's evil plan. Back-and-forth bickering and banter with Puss-in-Boots adds some comedic freshness to Donkey, who could've gotten stale in this film.

A sequel even better than the original, "Shrek 2" will make you a believer at four out of four stars.

"Shrek 2" is rated PG for some crude humor, a brief substance reference and some suggestive content. Running time is 1 hour, 45 minutes.

While taking over the top spot in the box office, "Shrek 2" pushed the top seven films of last week down one notch.

Last week's No. 1, "Troy," starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, and Orlando Bloom, brought in $23.9 million to its 10 day total of $85.9 million.

Now at No. 3, Hugh Jackman's "Van Helsing" became the fourth film in 2004 to top the $100 million mark, as it added $10.5 million to its overall total of $100.5 million.

"Mean Girls" keeps getting mean with $6.9 million, giving the No. 4 film $64.7 million in four weeks.

Jennifer Garner's "13 Going On 30" is more like No. 6 going to No. 7, with $2.5 million going to its $52 million.

Repeating in the ninth slot is "Kill Bill Vol. 2," adding $1.1 million to its six-week total of $62.7 million.

For more information and show times, contact Regal Cinemas Marketplace 24, 180 Mill Road, Oaks, at 610-666-6697.

Dennis J. Wright can be reached at dwright@phoenixvillenews.com.

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