“How To Train Your Dragon 2”
Director: Dean DeBlois
Screenwriter: Dean DeBlois
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferfuson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou
Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes
Rating: PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor
Studio: Dreamworks Animation/20th Century Fox
After Credits Scene? No
“How To Train Your Dragon 2” picks up five years after the events of it’s predecessor. Dragons are now living in harmony with the vikings of Berk and everything looks great. That is until Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon, Toothless, find out of a clan attempting to kidnap dragons to create an unstoppable army. Despite all that’s going against him, Hiccup takes it upon himself to try to change the minds of the clan with the help of Toothless before war breaks out.
Now the first “How To Train Your Dragon” film was a strange situation for me. I remembered seeing the trailers in absolute disgust back when they were released. It looked just flat out awful. Yet somehow, the final product turned out to be not only good, but spectacular. It was a remarkably poignant animated film with a tremendous heart and wonderful characters.
So it’s safe to say that I was extremely excited to see this sequel. I was pumped to see this sequel. Based off the trailers, it looked absolutely breathtaking to look at and I was pumped to see what new adventure Hiccup and Toothless would go on next. Having seen the film a few days ago, I must say that despite being nowhere near as good as the first one, “How To Train Your Dragon 2” is a great sequel.
Right off the bat, this is one of the best looking animated movies ever made, hands down. There’s absolutely zero denial that it’s just a masterpiece as far as pure spectacle. Every single image looks like an awe-inspiring painting filled with extreme detail. The flying sequences were just stunning to look at, especially in 3D, and the detail on the characters is incredible. It felt like I was watching a Pixar movie, which is truly an accomplishment.
One of my worries going into this film is that it would lose the magic of the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless. I was curious to see how this movie would further develop that relationship. Thankfully, while not as present in the film as I would have hoped, every moment when the two interacted was the stuff of movie magic. Both are such lovable characters that you’d never want anything to happen to and this movie captures that brilliantly, even when the film is at it’s darkest moments.
There’s some incredible emotional weight throughout this movie. Without giving too much away, there’s some fantastic development of Hiccup’s character as well as his family that was truly wonderful to watch. When the film got to it’s darkest points of emotion, it hits the audience hard. I will admit, I almost teared up watching this movie in a couple scenes.
Now here’s where the sequel gets separated from the original. This may be considered nitpicking, but this was something that bothered me a lot. To me, I feel like the final 20 or so minutes of this film were unneeded. When I say that, I don’t mean to say that it wasn’t incredible material that was being used. What I mean is that it didn’t belong in this movie. There was a moment after a major event happens that to me felt like a perfect way to end the film. It would have been a gutsy move that I believe would have payed off immensely. Then I would say save the final 20 minutes worth of material for the third installment. But instead, the film kept going and I felt like it just went too long. Sure, I don’t know what game plan Dreamworks has for this franchise, but that was just a peeve of mine.
My biggest complaint with the film, however, deals with the supporting characters. I felt like this time, all of the other kids in the film were regressed to caricatures that were unfunny. It’s a shame considering I found all of them entertaining in the first one. Also, the film lacked a strong villain. Unlike in past Dreamworks films like “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda 2,” this villain (played by Djimon Hounsou) felt generic and uninteresting despite his creepy appearance and voice.
With all that being said, “How To Train Your Dragon 2” is still a satisfying sequel. The outstanding animation and strong emotional core make this movie a special experience. I still believe that “The LEGO Movie” is the best animated film of the year by a longshot, but this is a great addition to the Dreamworks library.
Overall, I give “How To Train Your Dragon 2” a B+.
What did you guys think of “How To Train Your Dragon 2?” Were you satisfied with this sequel? Did you think it surpassed the first one? Make sure to comment below with your thoughts.
“How To Train Your Dragon 2” is now playing in theaters in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D.
Thank you guys so much for reading and, as always, “Follow the Screen, Scene X Scene!”