Review

Writer/Director of the original film, Dean DeBlois returns for ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’, the highly anticipated sequel, continuing the tales of Hiccup and his dragon Toothless. While I like to believe every movie review and score should solely be based on it’s own merits, it’s pretty much impossible not to compare it to it’s predecessor. The first film was a stunning visual spectacle and a surprisingly fun and heartwarming adventure story. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including best animated feature. Although 3D may not be for everyone, there was no denying that seeing the original film in 3d at the time was truly jaw-dropping. This leaves the sequel with an awful big pair of shoes to fill. The good news is that ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ delivers on almost every level. This sequel is packed with more mesmerizing visuals, stunning 3d effects and a story that’s almost as heartwarming and enjoyable as the original.

Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, and based on the book by Cressida Cowell, the action comedy tells the story of Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn’t exactly fit in with his tribe’s longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. Hiccup’s world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges he and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view. 5 years later we return when Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

Pretty much taking place in real time, the story begins 5 years following the events of the first film. While the people of Berk enjoy living a peaceful life amongst dragons they used to hunt, Hiccup (Voiced by Jay Baruchel) now spends most of his time exploring the world with his Night Fury dragon, Toothless. On an outing with his girlfriend and fellow dragon rider, Astrid (America Ferrera) they encounter a group of dragon catchers led by Eret (Kit Harrington). It is through these characters we are introduced to are main villain, Drago Bloodfist (Djimon Hounsou), and a much darker breed of dragon rider.

‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ might not be as ground-breaking as it’s predecessor, but it definitely doesn’t disappoint as a sequel to this beloved franchise. The story lends itself to tons of exposition, allowing the viewer to explore the much larger world outside of Berk, and all the types of dragons we have yet to encounter. The way the film sets up by showing how much uncharted land is out there is a clever way to naturally let your world build instead of forcing more into sequel just because its a sequel.

how-to-train-your-dragon-trailer-2There are a few slow moments, but for the most part the story effectively draws you in and introduces a new and intriguing character, that becomes a major focal point of the story. The middle of film primarily focuses on Hiccup and this new female character connecting, and for the most part, it successfully adds some emotional depth to the film. The overall premise isn’t quite as strong and simplistic as the original but is without a doubt still an engaging and well told story.

Certain enough, ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ lives up to expectations, and certainly still holds a spot as one of DreamWorks strongest properties. Actually, the past two DreamWorks animations (Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Turbo) didn’t make waves at the box office or leave any kind of lasting impression on critics.  With exception to ‘The Croods’, all of Dreamwork Animation’s most successful films in recent years are sequels or another installment in ongoing franchise. That’s a good sign for fan’s of the series (myself included) looking forward to seeing more ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ with a third film already scheduled for 2016.



About the Author

Sean McAloon
I am a Philadelphia based journalist, who is obsessed with movies and television. I is also a comic book enthusiast , although i can't keep up with everything. I like to spend my free time trying to working on short films. I currently work as an editor for popculturemadness.com and darkmediaonline.com, focusing on entertainment news, interviews and public relations. I studied business management & marketing at Goldey Beacom College.