There’s an unfortunate stereotype that sequels are never any good. There are some bad sequels out there for sure, but do people just forget about phenomenal movies like The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather part 2, Spider-man 2 or Toy Story 2? I may be on the minority, but sometimes I find myself enjoying a good sequel more then the original because it feels like a reunion with a world and characters that have grown overtime. (Heck, even my favourite pirates of the Caribbean film is Dead man’s Chest) Dreamworks has mastered the art of making more then worthy successors to their original films. Shrek 2, Madagascar 2 and Kung fu Panda 2 have all been fantastic instant classics. Now, they have released a sequel to one of their most beloved and recent films, known as How to Train your Dragon 2. Does this sequel fall in line with the previous gems mentioned? Oh boy, you have NO idea…
To start things off, I’d like to mention that the original How to Train your Dragon to me is a very strong film with a lot of creativity, fun action and alot of heart. The only aspect that underwhelms me about it is the story. It feels fairly basic at times, and it doesn’t feel as original to me as some of their other efforts like Kung fu Panda or MegaMind. The sequel however, brings the story to a whole new level. This film’s story is emotional, dark and occasionally heartbreaking, yet it never feels TOO dark. Dreamworks seems to have found a perfect balance that’s very reminiscent of some of Pixar’s finer efforts. It effortlessly bounces back and forth from being a brightly coloured and well thought out family film to being a Lord of the Rings territory epic. It’s so sophisticatedly handled and it’s clear that a lot of passion went into the writing, making this one of the most captivating stories of the year thus far. I’m not going to give away any details about the story itself, even the ones that some of you may have seen in the trailer, because the film is really meant to be seen with as little prior knowledge as possible.
The characters are all wonderful. The ones from the original have all grown up and remained as likeable as ever. Hiccup is still the likeable and slightly awkward hero. His story arc in this film is very engaging, and his relationship with Toothless and his friends truly gets tested this time around. Speaking of his friends, they are still the comic relief of the movie, but also get just as involved in the adventure as everyone else and provide some great laughs (Especially Gobber) Hiccups father also makes a welcomed return,and provides the movie with it’s emotional center. Toothless is just as adorable and fascinating this time around, and some of the films highlight sequences is right at the beginning, where we see just how much him and Hiccup have bonded over time, and how strong their friendship has become. The villain, Drago Bloodfist, is one of the best villains Dreamworks has ever conceived. He’s a ruthless maniac that has an entire army of dragons that do his bidding. He’s very menacing, and is definitely one of my favourite villains of 2014 so far. There are many more new characters that are memorable and interesting But for the sake of spoilers, I won’t go into detail about them. without giving too much away, it’s anything revolving around Hiccup’s family that truly makes this film shine.
As far as animation goes, How to Train your Dragon 2 exceeds expectations. The attention to detail is just mind blowing, from the unique designs of the dragons, to the grand sense of scale of the locations, everything looks absolutely perfect. there are quite honestly NO flaws I can find with the animation here. The expressions are great, the lighting is flawless and as i said before, The dragons steal the show. Most notably toothless, who’s clearly gotten a few upgrades since we last saw him in 2010’s film. There are SO many dragons in this movie, that I couldn’t even count them all. I’d have to say my favourite were the two alphas. They look like two Kaiju straight out of a Godzilla film. there’s really nothing else I can say. the folks at Dreamworks animation have outdone themselves yet again. It’s perfect. The film’s score is also very good, with a fantastic new opening song by Jonsi that sets the tone wonderfully.
Dreamworks has yet again gone above and beyond with their latest masterpiece. How to Train your Dragon 2 is an instant classic that should be viewed by anyone that loved the original and any fan of animation or dragons/vikings. I highly recommend you see this movie at the cinema, so that you can truly appreciate the rich and vibrant world that this film creates. Then buy it on dvd or Blu-ray. Then cherish it. Then watch it again and again. This not a film to be missed by anyone.