Saturday, June 14, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Review

It's commonplace for people to complain at yet another Dreamworks sequel, but in the instance of How to Train Your Dragon, the complaining was at a minimum. How to Train Your Dragon was a beloved movie that introduced a world with many possibilities for more stories. In addition to that, the book series that the movies are very loosely based off of are 11 in number, so a sequel to this makes sense. Now there has been a lot of praise for How to Train Your Dragon 2 and thus it may disappoint some that I won't be praising it as much as other people have, but nevertheless I do think that this was definitely a worthy sequel. While not quite as magical as the first in my own opinion and not the best animated movie this year (that still goes to The LEGO Movie), this is still a really fun and well-made movie.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 picks up five years after the events of the sequel and as far as the events in this one, it goes in a completely different direction than the first, beginning to explore more of the world that was created in the first movie. At the start of the first, the people on the island Berk were enemies to the dragons. However, our main character Hiccup discovered that the dragons were actually very friendly and spent the rest of the movie trying to convince everyone of what he had just realized. Having succeeded in this, vikings and dragons are now in peace and everything seems all fine and dandy. That is until Hiccup is out flying with Toothless and runs into new danger and that's where the plot of this movie takes off.

I'm only giving that very basic intro to the movie here in this review mainly because the trailers for this movie failed epically by spoiling several major plot twists. I want to avoid mentioning these plot twists in case there is the chance that some of you out there that have managed to avoid these trailers. Now I did like the story in the movie. As conflict was initially introduces I was super impressed. I had faith that in the direction that this franchise could go and thus I was optimistic about this movie, but as I saw for myself what directions they seemed to be going, I was very pleased. However, I have to admit that the middle of this movie actually did start to lose me. After opening my eyes to the immense potential about the direction this movie and franchise could go, it got lost for a bit and suddenly I couldn't help but wonder where they were actually going. A big part of the problem was that I was bored because there were two high-points in the middle that would've been amazing and emotional for me, but both moments were ruined because of the trailers. Now immediately after reading this, I know that many of you will be saying this is all my fault for watching too many trailers and you will advise me to stop. I'm sorry, this won't happen. I love reading up on movies and watching trailers. That's how I get myself excited for these movies. Also, every time a movie plays in the theater, there are 15-20 minutes of trailers beforehand and these are pretty hard to avoid, especially because I have to desire to avoid them due to trailers on the big screen being awesome to watch.

Moving on, once we were finally done slogging our way through the middle of this movie, the ending happened and that's where the movie picked up again and redeemed itself. Suddenly the vision of the beginning was actually fulfilled and I was thoroughly entertained till the end. Now I will admit that there came a point in the movie where I actually was hoping that the movie would end. Not because it dragged on, but because if it were to end in this way, it would've given it a Dark Knight or Empire Strikes Back type of ending and that would've made me think the movie was totally awesome and we could've spent all of movie three resolving this certain plot point. But because this is a kids movie, there's no way that the movie would've been daring enough to pull off that feat and thus the ending felt a bit too easy. But nonetheless, it was still entertaining enough for me to give it a pass.

Easily the best part of all the movie was the animation. If we were to ignore the story for one second and only focus on the animation, I will easily admit that this is a visual masterpiece. Worthy enough animation to win best animated feature at the Oscars? Yes. Being that I often think that this is the only aspect focused on in this category, I won't be surprised if it wins. That's the only way I can explain the Brave win a couple years back. Also, the music in this movie was quite amazing. Being that several of the songs were written by the great musician Jonsi, I am not surprised. Finally, the voice acting in this movie is impressive. Jay Baruchel has become solidified in my mind as Hiccup. It's kinda like a Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter type of thing. Every time I see Radcliffe I think Harry Potter. Same with Baruchel. Everytime he shows up in other things, I think Hiccup. Now as far as the other voice casting goes, I was rather shocked when I learned who was actually voicing these characters, even though many of them were also in the first. In this movie is Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Fergusen, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, and Kit Harrington among others and everyone of those caught me by surprise.

Overall, it may become a slightly unpopular opinion for me to not completely praise this movie as the best thing since sliced bread or better yet one of the best animated movies ever made. I still think I like the first one slightly better and I also like The LEGO Movie as the best animated feature from this year, but don't walk away from this thinking I was disappointed. While not on epic levels, How to Train Your Dragon 2 was a fun movie that I walked out of feeling very pleased with. It is worth your time and money, especially if you are a fan of animated movies as outside the Planes sequel in July, this is the only animated movie for the rest of the summer. Get your animated kick right now before you have to wait until the end of the year to get your fill. My grade for How to Train Your Dragon 2 is an 8/10.

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