Friday, June 13, 2014

Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Release date: June 13, 2014
Running time: 102 minutes
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Djimon Hounsou
Who to see it with: Someone who likes cute creatures and drama


How to Train Your Dragon surprised many with a mix of fun and drama that stood apart from other Dreamworks films, and its sequel will likely satisfy fans in the same way. This time, Hiccup and his vikings must face the prospect of war after encountering a violent group of dragon collectors. Hiccup is also uncomfortable with his father's desire to make him into his tribal chief successor. These clashes bring much debate about the inevitability of war and the pressures of accepting greater responsibility.

HtTYD 2 is a fun adventure, but its pace often slows as Hiccup deals with growing pains and unexpected revelations. There's comic relief—often provided by Hiccup's wacky friends—but the movie sometimes feels more like a family drama rather than a dragon-packed adventure. The slower parts run a little long but add a sense of weight that many recent animated films lack. Darker moments provide meaningful character developments that promise interesting, new dynamics and relationships for the inevitable sequel. There's enough action and drama to keep adults interested, while any kid or animal lover will enjoy the animation of the many dragons, who act like giant, playful, winged cats and dogs. The dragons and their relationships with their owners are the highlights of the film. How to Train Your Dragon 2 should entertain entire families with its combination of fun creatures and family conflicts.


I agree with Lee on a lot of these points, especially that the darker moments provide more weight and character development for the film, but I didn't like the overall darkness. Maybe I'm getting old, but I thought the movie had a little too much drama and unnecessarily somber scenes for a movie primarily appealing to kids and families. That's not to say kids movies can't have that (Disney's Up does it perfectly) but in this case it seemed overblown and inappropriate. That being said, the story is at times fun, the animation is gorgeous, and I especially love the dog-like dragons. 


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