I don’t know, but for some reason, How to Train Your Dragon really didn’t click with me, so when I found out they were doing a sequel, I was like: “Why?” But then, I decided to give the sequel a chance because it looked interesting. In the end, I was glad because How to Train Your Dragon was a lot of fun and scaled up (no pun intended) the franchise on all levels.
With Stoick’s change of heart from the first movie, Berk has become a community of dragon lovers, living in peace with the creatures whom they initially saw as their enemies. The chieftain now looks at his son, Hiccup, to take his place as the new leader of the Vikings, but the 20-year-old isn’t ready to assume the responsibility before he “finds himself” and his true purpose in life. In one of his exploration missions to track dragons and other dragon riders, he stumbles upon an island of dragon trappers who work for a tyrant called Drago Bludvist, who seeks to control all dragons and rule all people in hatred and fury. Hiccup throws caution to the wind and defies his father’s order to stay in Berk to confront the threat to both mankind and dragonkind.
I simply loved everything about How to Train Your Dragon 2. For one, the characters were so much more likeable now that they were all grown up. Its weird because for a supposed movie for kids, aging the characters by five years seemed to give them time to develop their personalities. The actors who voiced the main characters Jay Baruchel (Hiccup), America Ferreira (Astrid), Gerard Butler (Stoick), Jonah Hill (Snoutlout), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fishlegs), Kristen Wiig (Ruffnut) , T.J. Miller (Tuffnutt) and Craig Ferguson as Gobber seemed to gel better this time around and seemed like they were having more fun with the material. Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow) also joined the cast as Ereg, the hunky dragontrapper. It was a good thing because great animated features require really great voice acting and the gang pulled out all the stops this time.
The animation improved by leaps and bounds as well, boasting of great texture and detail while the colors used on the dragons not only made them more interesting but provided a stunning visual throughout the movie. Kudos to the animation team who worked hard to make this movie seem larger than life. I’m a big fan of the kickass design for the alphas. They were kickass. And the battle scene? Forget about it. It was like watching Lord of the Rings the way the dragons were going at it.
While there were events that I didn’t quite agree with (audiences who watched the movie may understand what I’m hinting at), I must admit that it made a bittersweet impact when everything was considered overall. After all, at the core of this great and entertaining movie was a great story that really dug deep to balance out the adventure with the dramatics.
There were criticisms before that Pixar/Disney’s main advantage against Dreamworks were the great stories behind their biggest hits (Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Up) but I think Dreamworks is slowly catching up and paying attention to its material. Not only has it improved on its script (which now uses humor that appeals to both children and adults) but it is establishing its reputation about building stories around families and friendship with love stories peppered in for good measure (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Megamind) and its really working.
All in all, kudos to director Den Deblois who returned to helm this franchise for making How to Train Your Dragon 2 an epic action adventure film. It was not just fun to watch but it had a certain depth and appeal to it that was missing in the original. I’m glad that this sequel came out. I’m on the fence about another movie but hey, what do I know? I didn’t like the idea of a part 2 but I’m raving about it now.