How to Train Your Dragon 2 movie poster
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How to Train Your Dragon 2
How to Train Your Dragon 2 movie poster

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Movie Review

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They trained the dragon in the last one, so How to Train Your Dragon 2 is pretty misleading. Most people won't care as the sequel is still pretty decent, albeit lacking the same charm, fun and entertainment factor of the original.

Let the hate mail cometh.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 picks up some time after the first one, where the Viking villagers led by nasally Hiccup have conquered, corrupted and manipulated a bunch of dragons into being their pets and play things. For some reason, the villagers become upset when they learn that another band of humans, led by a generic sociopathic villain, has conquered, corrupted and manipulated another group of dragons, but for a better reason: to take over the world. Or some generic bullshit like that.

Director Dean DeBlois returns to write and direct the movie, but this time without his co-conspirators Chris Sanders and William Davies. With the loss of collaboration, DeBlois has lost some of the original's magic; he's made a perfectly pleasant family film--but one that is ultimately forgettable.

I can't quite place my finger on it, but since this is my movie review and I am undoubtedly in the minority of critics on this one, I'll do my best to explain my reasoning:

  • The dialogue is a bit rudimentary at times; the story, too, is fairly straightforward.
  • The voice acting is obnoxious; Jay Baruchel's especially, but addition Cate Blanchett is not good at all.
  • The story isn't nearly as creative or emotional, despite some pretty depressing and heavy-handed material.
  • The movie isn't nearly as fun or funny as it could have been.

Of course, I'm not a little kid. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is still full of dragons, goofy sheep and fast-paced action, so the less discerning will find plenty to enjoy. The animation and visual effects are terrific, and the movie is not devoid of excitement. Many parts of the movie work; for example, as much as I don't like Cate Blanchett's voice here,  the way her character is introduced is pretty imaginative.

If only I could say that about the entire movie. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is worth seeing, but it's nothing more than a standard sequel--this is  what happens when your dragon has nothing new to learn.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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