Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2: This Sequel Is Not Afraid to Grow Up or Glide Along The Edge Of The Dark Side!


"You have the heart of a chief and the soul of a dragon." - Valka 

When it comes to sequels, there's often a certain level of trepidation; it will either expand on the world that the first film introduced, or it will bank on audience nostalgia by playing it safe and taking no risks. Many a dull sequel the latter has made, but not this time around. Believe the hype. After four years, Dreamworks has unleashed How To Train Your Dragon 2, a daring, proper sequel that's not afraid to let its characters grow up or glide along the edges of dark story- telling. Bring tissues, people.

Hiccup has grown into a young man, more interested in exploring the lands beyond Berk and finding new dragons than learning the ways of becoming a chief. All that changes when dragon trappers plan to create a dragon army for the notorious Drago Bloodfist. En route to "talk sense" into Drago, Hiccup is taken by a mysterious rider whose dragon training skills surpass his own - and she is his long lost mother. Only together, with the help of Toothless and friends, can they fight against the inevitable storm.

Now I know what you're thinking (or I like to think I can read your minds, so humor me for a second), how could they slip that Hiccup's mother is alive? I mean, we find out about this in the trailer. Talk about a spoiler, right? Well, sure. If you want to see it that way. I had a feeling the revelation of Hiccup's mother wasn't the real surprise. In fact, two other major things happen that are more shocking or unexpected. And I'm not going to tell you what that is, either.

Everything I enjoyed from the first adventure was present here, with the added pleasure of seeing this viking world expend. The characters have matured (to an extent) and their gadgetry is exceptional (I SO want a retractable fire sword now), but they still make mistakes and have flawed qualities that get in the way at times. Which makes the story real and the characters believable. Even relatable, I'd say. John Powell's score is top notch and the film itself is eye-candy Valhalla.

Expect a few genuine bully laughs every now and again, too.

If the film suffers from anything, it's the villain. He's new, and there's no back story to speak of. The argument against Hiccup's going to "talk sense" into Drago is because he kills for no reason. A little more on the Drago department would've made him a formidable bad guy.

Overall, take notes on this one. While it doesn't live up to the first, by a scale, this sequel is still a great example of how to pull one off. Its ending makes me very curious of what lies in store for Toothless and Hiccup in their next high-flying adventure. While it's true that some sequels have too many explosions, or bad acting, and others pull old gags from the first outing, this worthy sequel has ... Dragons!

Cosmic Crullers

Have you had a gander at HTTYD2 yet? How hard did Ruffnut make you laugh? Who's your favorite dragon character of all time?

I'm David, and "you know that doesn't wash out ..."


31 comments:

  1. It did go darker.
    You're right the villain had no depth. More on him would've been better.
    Good movie but agree it just falls short of the first.

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  2. Man, it ate my first comment. Short summary: I've heard a lot of good things about it but I'm still surprised it lost to 22 Jump Street last weekend.

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  3. I've been wanting to see this one, since I loved the first one. And Toothless's expressions always remind me of my cat Juliette's.

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  4. I am so excited to see this

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  5. Should have taken notes from Alvin, I guess. Can't wait to see the movie for myself. Great review David, I can't wait to see the movie for myself. I knew the big surprise couldn't be the mom since it was revealed so early. Though I'm a bit tired of the supposed dead being alive story arc. Did she abandon him to go off with dragons? Seriously.

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  6. I liked it but I didn't love it. Still can't put my finger on what didn't jive for me.

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  7. I haven't seen it yet, but I would love to. I thought the first one was fantastic.

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  8. Haven't seen it yet, but I will for sure. I really love complex villains with back story, so I'm sorry to hear this one fell flat.

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  9. Ohhhh… I LOVED the first one!!!! It was SO cute. And it sounds like this second one doesn't disappoint. Isn't it funny how we, as writers, can't even just sit and watch a movie? We have to analyze character… and plot points… and arcs... and motivation… LOL… we are a bunch of cool, messed up people. :)

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  10. I can't say anything about this movie as I haven't seen it. I am reading a book on writing by James Scott Belll that addresses the importance of depth to your villains. We like our villains multi-faceted!

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  11. The family has gone crazy talking about this one -- i know they will get to it this weekend. Thanks for the review!

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  12. I just can't generate any enthusiasm to see this one. I don't know why.

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  13. I'm going to see it this Friday! I'm looking forward to it. Anything with dragons in it is worth seeing. Some are disappointing but I trust this one will be good.

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  14. We are trying to figure out which day to go see this! I'm so glad it lives up to the hype. Nothing worse than being let down by a sequel. I'm glad they took their time and did it right!

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  15. My daughter saw it and loved it. It's totally on my list now!

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  16. I actually saw this last night :) "Overall, take notes on this one. While it doesn't live up to the first, by a scale, this sequel is still a great example of how to pull one off." This sums up my thoughts!

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  17. Can't wait to watch the movie! It's on my list for this weekend! :)

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  18. I don't think I'll be going to the theater to see this one. But I'll watch for it to turn up on streaming eventually.

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  19. Since you and Alex really liked it, I'm going to try to watch this series. Probably I'll stream it like Dianne.

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  20. I want to watch this so much. We'd been considering taking the kids but the more I hear about it he more I worry it might be a little too much for them (they're four and five) What do you think, did you take your kids?

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  21. I haven't seen this yet, but it looks like fun. Something I'll catch when it comes out on streaming, I'm sure!

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  22. Sounds cool. I'm surprised that they go so dark with the plot, but that can be refreshing too.

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  23. So far, all I've seen of this series is that trailer you posted. I really enjoyed it, especially the last line, "You know that doesn't wash out." I haven't read anything very negative about the movie. I think I'll pass, though, unless I get the opportunity to see it with my nephew.

    Thanks for dropping by recently, David. I hope all's well in your world.

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  24. Great review of the movie! I haven't seen it yet, but I'm really looking forward to seeing it. Sequels really can be hit or miss sometimes, so hopefully I like it!

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  25. Only heard good things about this movie, which is unusual for a sequel. Hope it isn't overhyped (like to keep my expectations nice and low).

    mood

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  26. sequels are so hard to do, they are always compared to an awesome first, and it's hard to put a new spin on characters we already know... unless youre jk rowling w/harry potter... not many sequels surpass the originals... so i dont expect much from them, and sometimes i'm pleasantly surprised
    thanks for the review. i liked the first one so much, i know this will be disappointing, so with that expectation, it should be better, right? ha ha

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  27. I haven't seen either movie, but I liked your review. I've been disappointed by sequels in the past, so this sounds promising.

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  28. It's good that they went out to do something different and progress the series, even if it doesn't quite live up to the first.

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  29. I of course loved it more than the first. But maybe that's because I like stories with older characters and darker plots.

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  30. I had to wait until I'd actually seen it to comment. ;) You're take on it is spot on. I enjoyed it, though it doesn't top the first one. But the heart of the movies has always been the friendship between Toothless and Hiccup, and the second one gave us some beautiful, powerful moments on that front. Plus...dragons!!

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