January 24, 2015

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, et al

I'd like to say I'm not reviewing any more sequels, but it seems like that's all there is these days. And after this movie, I thought I was especially done with Dreamworks sequels. Yet, here I am.

My gripes about the first movie are still present: the voice of Hiccup, the fact that none of the kids have accents but all the adults have strong Scottish accents, and the fact that they are supposed to be Vikings, but have Scottish accents. So minor stuff, really.

The animation, however, does live up to the original. There are more dragons, more wide shots of scenery, and more characters--all requiring more work on the part of the animators. I think they did a fabulous job and I can see why people are in awe of this movie because people often focus on amazing cinematography and lose perspective on things like say, plot. (See: Gravity)

I will say, they really tried to make the plot interesting and complex. They did not cop out and simply copy the original (cough, cough, Hangover 2). They brought back all the original characters that people liked and introduced new ones. However, this is also made the movie a bit of a hot mess. Much like a big budget Hollywood ensemble cast movie, this had too many characters. Characters from the first movie who provided occasional comic relief but who were also present throughout were reduced to one or two snippets with exaggerated comedy and not seen otherwise. It's as if they already had a contract with those cast members, so wrote in a little part for them, but otherwise re-cast almost the entire movie. Even Stoic, the dad, was only seen a few key scenes, which is a f*ing travesty because he has the most epic man beard of all time. And I never tire of Gerard Butler's voice.

The introduction of the female character, to me, was too predictable and an overwrought attempt at creating the relatable clash of feelings of the first movie between Hiccup and his dad. It felt like just another plot twist to try and keep things interesting. While I appreciate the attempt at a non-predictable plot, it simply failed here and the continual twists became a little annoying.

Ultimately, it was better than your average sequel, but perhaps that's not saying much. It's certainly not Oscar worthy. 

Final word: Not seeing what the hype was about. And it's sure as hell not better than The LEGO Movie.

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