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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon 2

HowtoTrainYourDragon2The dragon-riding Vikings return in Dreamworks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2.  It has been five years since the village of Berk have made peace with the dragons that roam the land.  Having come of age, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) has been asked by his father, Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), to succeed him as chieftain of Berk, but Hiccup is unsure of this responsibility and would rather discover new uncharted territories with his Night Fury dragon Toothless.  On one of these trips, Hiccup learns that  an insane man named Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou) is gathering together an army of dragons.  Certain that he can prevent war with Drago, Hiccup and Toothless sets off to confront him.

I shall start off by correcting an error of judgement I made earlier this year.  In my review of The Lego Movie back in February, I wrote that “I can’t envision there being a better animated film this year.” Now, I still consider The Lego Movie to be one of my favourite movies this year, but I will admit right now that I was very wrong with that statement.  Not only is How to Train Your Dragon 2 a better animated film, but it really sets the bar for how animated films should be done in the future.  While there are still animated film being produced that are aimed purely for kids, How to Train Your Dragon 2 helps to demonstrate that animation can be so much more.

One of the most interesting aspects of How to Train Your Dragon 2, which I don’t think I’ve seen in animation previously, is that the characters have visibly aged since the first film.  For instance, the formerly teenage Hiccup is now a young adult and his father Stoick is starting to show grey in the beard.  Combined with some new ground-breaking CGI techniques, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is one of the most visually impressive animated films that you will see and is well worth paying for a 3D ticket.

However, the film isn’t just visual flare without any story.  In fact, the stakes are much more dire this time around, complete with a truly evil villain in Drago Bludvist.  The high stakes also means that How to Train Your Dragon 2 goes into some dark places, which might make the film a bit upsetting for very young children.  However, it also helps to elevate How to Train Your Dragon 2 into being much more that just another animated film.

Without a doubt, How to Train Your Dragon 2 can be seen a major game-changer when it comes to animated films, while also being an excellent adventure film in general.  In fact, I would probably be surprised if this film doesn’t end up winning the Best Animated Film Oscar.

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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).