Dreamworks has made their best sequel yet with the follow up to How to Train your Dragon. This is yet another great example of a summer movie that does that sequel right. I really think Hollywood is starting to at least figure out how to make all of these sequels good, since they’re choosing them over original ideas. This series is actually based on a children’s book series, and the writer-director Dean DeBlois returned for this one, which is a great thing. The first movie had so much heart and so many great moments, that I was telling people to watch it long after it came out. The sequel doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it takes the characters on to the next step in their lives, and it’s damn entertaining and emotional to watch.
The sequel picks up, what seems like many years after the first movie. Hiccup, as well as every one of his friends, has aged considerably. He and Toothless are still the best of friends, however, spending their days flying about, and exploring and mapping the world around their home of Berk. Hiccup is having a dilemma because his father expects him to take over as chief of Berk, when he really wants nothing to do with it. He isn’t a leader like his father, or so he thinks, when his girlfriend Astrid and himself happen upon a group of dragon-trappers. They work for a man named Drago Bludvist, whose intent is to capture and control the worlds dragons after they attacked and destroyed his home. It has a strong parallel to slavery, as our heroes attempt to fend him and his army away from Berk, as well as save the dragons. I’m leaving all the family and relationship stuff out, which is honestly the best part of the movie, but it’s probably left unspoiled.
One of the best components of this movie that I loved, is the production design and how it was all presented in such a lifelike way. The characters and dragons all look very unrealistic, yet everything surrounding them is like it’s a live action film. The characters walk and move like they’re real people, the cinematography is particularly beautiful (the great Roger Deakins was an assistant) and the conversations the characters have feel real. That’s what helped the first movie also, is how relatable the characters were, even though they’re basically cartoon renderings. I give most of the credit to how great the writing and directing is, but the animators and actors/actresses certainly did their part.
Just like the rest of the Dreamworks films, this one has some great subversive humor for adults too. In fact, this was a really grown up movie overall. It’s like the creators wanted the story and characters to grow in real time with the kids who liked the first movie, and I love that. I won’t go in to detail, but just like the first movie, Dreamworks really knows how to bring the waterworks. Well, that about wraps up my thoughts on ‘How to Train your Dragon 2’. I loved this movie, and when I heard they want to do one or maybe two more, I got stoked. If they can keep the characters growing, and the stories maturing with the audience, I think Dreamworks will have something really special on their hands.
I know I’ve fallen a bit behind on these write-ups but I’m going to do my best to stay on target for the rest of summer. I’ve got some awesome flicks coming up on here, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!