Sunday, June 15, 2014

Topical Movie Review - How To Train Your Dragon 2

First off, happy Father's Day to you all. As a father myself, I find it mildly ironic that I got taken to a 'kids' movie on 'my' day. That being said, I did enjoy it quite a bit.

That said, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is the continuing story of Hiccup, Astrid, Totthless, and the village of Berk. There's been a timeskip of 5 years, and tension is mounting between Hiccup and Stoick as the latter is trying to groom his son for the chieftainship. But greater problems are looming on the horizon for the hapless dragon tamer, as spectres from his, as well as his father's, past will soon be coming back to haunt them.

  • Dragons. There's lots of them, they're animated well, and the action starts at the beginning and doesn't stop until the credits. Seriously, we are talking about a franchise that is okay with knowing about what its claim to fame is. If you enjoyed the first movie, you'll probably like this one, as it sticks to the game plan.
  • Gadgets. This could fall under a 'con' if you didn't like Hiccup's inventions in the first movie, as they continue as a theme in this one. I enjoyed it, but I can see that not everyone would enjoy the concept of steampunk vikings. Nevertheless, there are some fun macguffins in this installment.
  • Antagonists. Yes, actual villains this time. I felt it was sort of a shortfall of the first movie that there were no real 'bad guys.' The other vikings, while inconsiderate at first, were really not that bad, and the only true enemy was the Red Death, or, essentially, a large animal.
  • Time skip. Mrs. Fett didn't like that they advanced the age of the characters without doing so in the television series. I didn't watch the TV show as much as she did, but the suddenly 'grown up' dragon riders putting, in places. It seemed pretty easy to get used to though.
  • Laying the foundation for HTTYD 3. There were some places where I am pretty sure they were laying the groundwork for another theatrical installment. I'm not averse to a third movie, but sometimes you don't need to see the man behind the curtain.
  • Wait, that's all you got? Not trying to get into spoilers here, but there was a fight that had a lot of build up in the story (including some street cred from the first movie), where I was expecting some fairly decent sword and axe battling. Unfortunately, said battle amounted to practically nothing. The fight was cut short due to 'plot point,' or what in a video game I would cal being 'cutscened.' It was disappointing after hearing about a certain character's legendary battle prowess.
When all is said and done, How to Train Your Dragon 2 was a lot of fun, and a better movie than anyone has any right to expect from an animated movie sequel. There were a few little quibbling problems I had with it, but those don't ruin the film in any major degree. Worth seeing in the theater, if you were on the fence.

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