Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Movie Review)

By Freda Cooper 07.07.2014 4

Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Movie Review)

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (UK Rating: PG)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier and 22 Jump Street are just two that both equalled, if not exceeded, their respective originals this year, but does DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon 2 follow suit? With the movie set for general release nationwide from Friday, 11th July, Freda Cooper spreads her wings and takes flight in this latest edition of Lights, Camera, Action! to find out.

It has been four years since audiences were introduced to the inhabitants of the island of Berk, with its hybrid Scottish/Viking culture. Four years is a long time in the world of cinema, especially when it comes to animation movies. The original was made in 3D, and so is the sequel, yet the difference in standard is staggering, making part two of the saga something of a different beast - or dragon, to be precise.

Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Movie Review)

Set five years after the first story, but still on the island of Berk, the same crew are back - Hiccup, his faithful dragon Toothless, and the wonderfully-named Fishlegs, Tuffnut, Snotlout, and Ruffnut. They are all older, but possibly not wiser. Hiccup now faces the prospect of taking over the leadership of the island from his father, Stoick the Vast, who is also trying to manoeuvre his son into marrying the feisty Astrid. However, an infinitely more dangerous threat is looming in the shape of the evil Drago Bludvist, who threatens to destroy Berk's entire way of life.

The territory is familiar - there's just a different adversary - but what makes How to Train Your Dragon 2 stand out from the crowd is in its actual animation. To watch, it is simply stunning, both creatively and technically. From the myriad of dragons, to the crowds in the early dragon racing scenes, it hits the audience right between the eyes. It is no wonder that the list of credits for visual effects at the end seems to roll on forever.


 
The possible drawback is that with so much going into the animation, there is a lingering impression of the makers getting carried away by their own enthusiasm. Take those dragon racing scenes, for instance. The crowds are huge and made up of thousands of difference faces, yet they are swept over and all that intricate detail is brushed aside. All the other action sequences - and there are plenty of them - are relentless and equally intricate, so the audience finds itself looking at one thing on the screen and feeling it's missing out on others. There is simply too much going on. It is an achievement full of skill and talent, yet the overall experience is of something slightly distant and unengaging.

There is, however, one exception, and that is the scene-stealing Toothless. The young Night Fury dragon is enchanting - funny, loyal, and very appealing. His scenes with other dragons are huge fun, even when they are merely in the background, and he brings a lump to the throat on more than one occasion.

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10
With the summer holidays on the way, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is likely to be on every family's must-see list. Its action-packed story and wow-factor animation will go down a storm with the children and, undoubtedly, impress the adults, who are unlikely to object to having to go along. However, they might just find that essential touch of magic has been buried underneath all the technical wizardry.

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Comments

It's interesting, because I REALLY loved the first movie, and yet after watching the trailer for this new one, interest has nose-dived. I wonder if it was just a dodgy trailer and I'll still find it as amusing as the first film, or whether my tastes have changed over the past four years...?

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Darkflame (guest) 08.07.2014#2

Adam Riley said:
It's interesting, because I REALLY loved the first movie, and yet after watching the trailer for this new one, interest has nose-dived. I wonder if it was just a dodgy trailer and I'll still find it as amusing as the first film, or whether my tastes have changed over the past four years...?

Imho, its just as good if not better then the first.

I only felt let down slightly by the music, which (while still good) didn't stick with my like the first did.
But everything else, plot, humor, detail...was great.

Ah, I appreciate the feedback, thanks! I'll give it a go at some point, I'm sure Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Just saw it, was good but not on the same level as the first. There was something off with the voices/animation and I still can't quite figure out what it was...It didn't feel or look quite as natural as it did before on the people. 

Still worth watching though! Loved it.

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
K-Pop Korner - The Best of Korean Music
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Adam Riley, Insanoflex, Ofisil

There are 3 members online at the moment.