For my first review of an animated movie, I decided to pick one of my favorites, ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’. Made for kids and adults alike, this coming of age animated flick sets the bar for animated sequels and will make you beg for a ‘How To Train Your Dragon 3’.
With an all-star cast voicing its characters, ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ feels fresh and innovative, looking to touch the heart of not just the children watching it but of the the adults who are still trying to find themselves. This movie plays on the general criteria that most animated movies follow but elevates it to the next level, adding a dimension of excitement and sadness that even few live-action dramas are able to accomplish.
‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ and Dreamworks Animation shows audiences that Disney/Pixar aren’t the only ones who can deliver a classic animated movie.
A lot was riding on ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ when is was released last June. The first film became a phenomenon, receiving critically acclaim with two Oscar nominations and was universally loved by everyone who saw it. Dreamworks Animation could officially add another movie to its list of hits that include the Shrek and Madagascar franchises.
Taking place five years after the original, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his friends are now young adults. Hiccup is faced with a whole new array of problems such as becoming the future chieftain, his love life, a power hungry dictator with a dragon army, and reconnecting with his long-lost mother, Valka (Cate Blanchett). Even with all of these very adult issues, the film maintains that childlike flair with the best part of these movies – the dragons.
Between the adorable Toothless, the alpha dragon, and the other amazing dragons featured in this movie, you find yourself wishing you could be a viking flying on the back of a Night Fury. The first movie gave us just the smallest taste of a dragon’s abilities in this world. With the introduction of Valka and a more accepting village of Berk, the audience really gets to see the true potential of these dragons. One of the standout scenes for this is when Hiccup and Toothless are just flying around, doing flips, tricks and dives. At one point, Hiccup reveals additions to his armor that allow him to fly alongside Toothless, well until he eventually crashes of course.
This movie does something that many animated movies are afraid to do and that is grow up. Many of them show growing up in the literal sense but the actual films don’t grow from one to another. I feel like most sequels tend to ride on the coat tails of the original’s success and don’t give the audience anything new. By adding amazing new cast member, making the main character and his friends young adults, and adding a dark new villain, the sequel is given a bit of darkness that makes it feel like a more mature film.
Let us not get too heavy though, the movie is still a lot of fun. Between Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig) lusting after Eret (Kit Harrington), the dance between Valka and Stoick (Gerard Butler), and the dragon racing, the movie is equally light hearted and heavy. The filmmakers keep a nice balance between the two, making the film very enjoyable.
Also the animation is on point and is some of the best I have ever seen. The emotion that these animated character portray and the detail incorporated in each dragon is just astounding. I think you would be hard pressed to find a film with animation this high quality.
Also I love the diversity between the character. The problem I have with Disney animated films is that most of the character all look the same. For example, Elsa and Anna from ‘Frozen’ essentially have the same face and this face is already been recycled from ‘Tangled’ and the upcoming ‘Inside Out’. ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ has characters that look completely different from one another and give the film a lot of diversity.
‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ marks the first time that Dreamworks Animation has won a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature and with the Oscars right around the corner, expect them to also pick up that little gold man.
‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ was released on June 13, 2014 and is voiced by Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harrington, Jonah Hill, Djimon Hounsou and Craig Ferguson.