Release Date: June 13, 2014
Director: Dean DeBlois
Writer: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T. J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington, Kieron Elliot
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 102 minutes
Production Company: Dreamworks
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
I had low expectations for the first film which most likely catered to my enjoyment. Going into the sequel with the same mindset probably helped as well, seeing that at some points I was smiling ear to ear. How to train your dragon 2 is another cute animation dished out by DreamWorks that definitely deserves your attention. It’s a lot of fun and opens you up to a new world of dragons you may not have witnessed before. There are a lot of new jokes that will serve the whole family and even action leaving you engaged. The characters are all likable, the colors are bright, and effects add its own tone of flare and 3D depth. Even if the antagonist of the film is a bit underdeveloped, it’s still a property you may regret you missed.
What’s great about the film initially, is the instant reminder of the world we left behind. In the past film, dragons were thought of as dangerous and/or mischievous creatures that could only do no good. Though we found out they’re like man’s best friend, and a cohesive relationship can bring forth great wonders beyond the eyes can see. During the first act of the sequel, we get a glimpse of this on a whole other level, as man and dragon team up for entertainment and productive duties around town. This is where the smiling begins and doesn’t end for quite a while as we see how great things could be if we all worked together. On top of that, it’s so much fun to see all the new tricks our main character Hiccup (Baruchel) learns with his dragon Toothless. They explore new worlds while we get to witness them soaring through the skies to new heights, and I enjoyed every second of it. It’s an excellent way to keep the audience at the edge of their seat while new adventures erupt.
As I stated earlier the cast is great too. They’re all vast as all the dragons with their bright colors and unique shapes. There are character personalities for nearly every walk of life. The good hearted hero, Damsel in distress, the strong female, fighting siblings, the unsure of themselves, and the leader of the pack. They’re all there and the list goes on. Leaning back towards the dragons, I’m sure if I did a freeze frame I couldn’t find two dragons that are alike. They’re all as different as each snowflake that visits one time a year. When they’re together, their unique design creates a beautiful array of rainbows that adds to the big smile already taking over from previous scenes. It’s a joy to watch and I’m sure everyone will agree.
As the story progressed Hiccup with no care in the world explores new worlds then comes across another group of characters that ride dragons too. Thinking that his society was the only group of people that relied on dragons, he is shocked to say the least. He finds out that there are others out there who capture dragons for their own personal gain, and if he’s not careful what he’s come to love may come to a swift end. During all of this exposition, we hear the name of the man pulling all of the behind the scene strings, but when we finally meet him, he seems just oversized with a raspy voice and nothing else. Going back to his past, he stresses the importance on why he can only control the dragons and if he’s ignored the world will end. This never happens or even remotely comes close. So his only motivation in my opinion is to prove something to himself which isn’t that impressive.
While the story does a great job with the next chapter being told, the plot builds you up to slightly let you down. It’s there in full swing but is clouded by the weak villain who only looks menacing but doesn’t deliver. As most bad guys in these types of tales world domination is key, and nothing else matters to them. They’re hell bent on ruling others and not taking no for an answer. What’s lacking here is the answer to the questions of why. We’re giving a problem and answer but no solution of how he got there. He did nothing but put the audience to sleep and whine about why he’s not the leader.
Putting that aside everything else was a knock out of the park. The relationship that Hiccup has with his family and friends has grown to new levels in the sequel, and has that unique warm element to it as well. My heart nearly stopped for a beat when I did see someone nearing their end, and that only goes to show that I cared. You won’t stop laughing with all the comedy that’s well-pace throughout. It also shows that the creators took their time this time around instead of giving another bland animation. While I won’t go as far as saying this feature tops the Lego Movie but in all fairness it does come close.