(click for larger version)
July 22, 2014 | 04:57 PM“This is Berk. Life here is amazing. Dragons used to be a bit of a problem, but now they’ve all moved in.”
DreamWork’s “How To Train Your Dragon” is one of my favorite animated movies of all time. Not only is it incredibly funny, but it also creates a beautifully realized relationship between a boy named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon, Toothless.
This was a duo that I was very excited to see back on the big screen in a sequel. However, I was cautiously excited due to the fact that, for the most part, sequels never really live up to the expectations set by the original.
Having seen the movie I’m happy to report that although “How To Train Your Dragon 2” is nowhere near as good as the first film, it’s still a worthy sequel.
“How To Train Your Dragon 2” brings back the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years after the events of the first film.
While most of the characters from the first movie such as Astrid (America Ferrera) and Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are participating in dragon races (the island’s new favorite sport), Hiccup and Toothless are charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds.
When the pair discovers a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of wild dragons and the enigmatic Dragon Rider (Cate Blanchett), the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.
The movie takes advantage of its already established characters and gets right into the new story that the filmmakers are trying to tell.
During a brief voiceover from Hiccup at the beginning of the film, we learn that dragons have become accepted creatures on the island of Berk. That’s all we need to know before we’re thrust back into the adventures of Hiccup and Toothless.
Multiple relationships that were introduced in the first movie are further developed in the sequel.
The relationship between Hiccup and his father, Stoick (Gerard Butler), is an aspect of the sequel, which is even more touching than it was in the first.
Writer/director Dean DeBlois takes much of the focus off of the relationship between Hiccup and his love interest, Astrid. This was a conscious decision, seeing as though this film is more an action film than it is a comedy.
Instead, focus is put mostly on Hiccup and the mysterious Dragon Rider (who’s identity I won’t spoil). This brings about plenty of conflict along with the greater threat of an attack on Berk by the villainous Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou).
Bludvist’s endeavor makes for the most incredible action in an animated movie that I’ve ever seen. A large-scale battle sequence that takes place about three-quarters of the way through the movie may just be the best action scene of the year.
The animators successfully crafted one of the most beautiful looking movies of the year. This was an essential aspect seeing as though the comedy seemed a bit lacking.
I don’t blame DeBlois and his script for my not loving this movie. He set out to make an action film with comedic moments as opposed to a comedic film with moments of action, and he did it successfully. I just would have preferred more laughs.
There were a few chuckles here and there, but never was there a big moment of laughter.
“How To Train Your Dragon 2”, especially compared to its predecessor, is not a particularly funny movie.
While I do believe that the lack of humor was intentional, I personally wish that there was more of it.
Overall, “How To Train Your Dragon 2” is a fun time at the movies filled with incredible action, compelling character arcs and terrific voice performances.
This is a film that both kids and adults can really sink their teeth into.
William Lorenz is a 16-year-old junior at Badger High School and an aspiring film critic.