Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

Genre: Animated Fantasy Adventure

Rating: PG

Running Time: 105 mins.

Premise: 5 years after the first film, Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his dragon, Toothless, face off against the evil Drago and his army of brainwashed dragons.  Along the way, Hiccup reunites with his long lost mother (voiced by Cate Blanchett).

Behind-the-Scenes: The first HTTYD was a surprising slow-burn success.  It started out making a disappointing $43 million its opening weekend, and then had slow declines the following weeks and ultimately grossed over $215 million by the time its theatrical run was over.

The Good: How to Train Your Dragon 2 is not only a strong sequel, but a fantastic fantasy adventure for all ages and a triumphant artistic success for DreamWorks Animation.  It's genuinely exciting, beautifully animated, and has a ton of heart.  Writer-director Dean DuBois and his collaborators should be commended - the movie plays no different than a live action movie thanks to its cinematography, pacing, and character moments.  A must-see in 3D.  The flying sequences (of which there are many) leap off the screen.  The character design and voice work by the all-star cast is of a very high caliber, especially Gerard Butler and Blanchett as Hiccup's parents.  The movie is not afraid of emotion, and the death of a major character packs a real wallop.  The final shot before credits roll will leave audiences cheering (on the inside, if not the outside).

The Bad: The narrative bookends are basically a rehash of those from the first film.  Hiccup's mom is presented as a strong, interesting female character and then given nothing to do as the movie unfolds.

Should You See It?: Yes. Definitely.  Take the kids.  See it by yourself.  Just go.

Star Rating: ****1/2 out of 5 stars.

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