How to Train Your Dragon 2 review

Director:
Dean DeBlois
Cast:
Jay Baruchel
Cate Blanchett
Gerard Butler
Craig Ferguson
America Ferrera
Djimon Hounsou
Kit Harington
Rated: PG

Five years later and none of the main characters have developed Scottish accents.

“How to Train Your Dragon 2” returns audiences to the island of Berk, where the viking warrirors there have adapted to life with dragons. There are dragon races, dragon stalls and other features to make everything work perfectly. The village is happy and the main character Hiccup’s (Baruchel) friends are having a good time racing each other. Hiccup on the other hand, though, seems to be less than content at Berk and spends his time searching the world for new places.

The adventure starts when Hiccup, and his now girlfriend Astrid (Ferrera) discover dragon trappers who are working for the villain Drago (Hounsou). Drago is working to build a dragon army and will take out anyone in his way. After the villain’s plot is discovered, Hiccup goes to try and reason with him. His journey is derailed though when he meets a person who has built a dragon sanctuary, a person that he has a connection with.

“Dragons 2” is a film that left me wanting more, but not in the right way. The issue in this movie is there are some points that are really glossed over when it should have been more fleshed out. The film is only about 100 minutes, and honestly, it could have benefited from either adding another 20 minutes or cutting some parts of the movie in favor of others.

Despite certain plot points being rushed, the film still brings an emotional impact when certain things are revealed. The story is crafted with care and it’s evident that the filmmakers tried to make the plot events as sincere as possible. The problem is that there just isn’t as much time necessary to do so.

Fortunately, the lead protagonists of “Dragons 2” deliver.

Hiccup has advanced as a main character, and despite having second thoughts about taking over the village from his father, he still manages to come off as brave, honest and real, which makes for a good main character. The only issues with his character come from the way the plot was executed, since his story arc has a lot of major moments that, like previously stated, were rather rushed.

Hiccup’s father, Stoic, is played again by Gerard Butler and like last time the voice fits the role. This time around there’s a lot more depth around his character and the emotion really shines through in his scenes.

Astrid, Hiccup’s former rival and now girlfriend, was also a well written character. The dialogue between her and Hiccup comes off as very real.

Now, even though this was in the trailer, this next part is still a bit of a spoiler. In the movie, Hiccup meets his mother, Valka, who is played very well by Cate Blanchett. Once again, the story issues come into play with her character development seeming a bit rushed.

None of my complaints with how some sections feel rushed are to bash these characters, since they are well written and likable, some character arcs just needed to be better fleshed out.

There are some characters who did fall flat, though. Mainly Hiccup’s friends, like Jonah Hill’s character, for example. These characters are almost exclusively used for the humor and it doesn’t feel like they are all part of a team, like say, the Furious Five and The Dragon Warrior were in the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise.

Also not delivering very well was the villain, who came across as a little unmemorable. Drago had a cool backstory, but his dialogue made him come across as just a rather average villain.

Dreamworks Animation Studios really nail it again as everything in this film is gorgeous to look at. From the beautiful setting that was created to the lifelike mannerisms given to the characters. The animators also worked very hard to ensure that each dragon had a unique look. If there is one point that is perfect, it’s the animation.

“Dragons 2” has a lot going for it. The main characters are very likable and have interesting story arcs, plus the animation alone is worth admission. The film just has flaws with some of the supporting cast and it could have really benefited for some more time focusing on important plot points. Low 4 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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