Honestly, I have seen a crap-load of movies this year! Guardians of the Galaxy, Lego Movie, TMNT, Lucy, A Million Ways to Die in the West, X-Men Days of Future Past, Let’s Be Cops, Neighbors, Amazing Spiderman 2 and much MUCH more! One of my favorite movies (and one of the movies I had anticipated the most) was How to Train Your Dragon 2. I loved the first film and the ad campaign for the second film was just flat out spectacular. This review is long overdue to be honest, I got half way through writing a review for this before I got busy with work and wordpress seems to have deleted it for some random reason. Anyways, here is my version two review of How to Train Your Dragon Two:
HtTyD2 starts of much how you would expect, Hiccup’s home village, Berk, has come to terms with living amongst dragons. The village of Berk is actually unique in that it is one of the only villages that keeps dragons as companions. Almost every home has a dragon of their own and the citizens even participate in things like dragon cleaning and dragon racing and they even have their own dragon stables where the dragons can sleep. All is well in Berk, the village is no longer a dark and brooding place that it once was and is far more lively and upbeat.
Hiccup, however, does not seem to be as a content as he was by the end of the first film. Like most heroes that find themselves in a sequel, he seems lost. Now that he has accomplished making Berk a a livable village, he seems to be looking for a sense of purpose. Which is surprising when you consider the fact that he seems to have everything going for him. He is engaged to his love interest from the first movie, Astrid(voiced by America Ferrera) and he is also very near becoming the new leader of Berk. A title that Hiccups father seems adorably excited to bestow upon his son who he once worried would never amount to being a true viking. Rather than embrace his new station and his coveted fiance, he seems to be running from them. Constantly tinkering with new inventions or charting unknown lands. In fact, he is normally away from the village which obviously worries those around him.
While Hiccup is struggling to find his path, or any path for that matter, he stumbles upon what essentially amounts to pirates or dragon wranglers who are tasked with capturing dragons and bringing them to an insane conqueror named Drago Bludvist. The pirates reveal to Hiccup that they are angry at Berk because instead of dealing with one dragon tamer, they now have to deal with a whole village. As such, Inventory has become very limited.
When Hiccup brings this information back to Berk and to his father, Stoik, Hiccups father (voiced by Gerard Butler who does a fantastic job going from serious and brooding to doting and adorable father effortlessly), reveals that Drago had once tried to bring the viking villages under is sovereign rule claiming that he alone could control the dragons. When all the viking Chiefs laughed in his face, Drago sends a horde of dragons and Stoik was the only survivor. Stoik, normally wise and powerful is actually frightened by Bludvist’s return. He warns Hiccup that things are too dangerous and to stay away from Bludvist. Which is a warning that he, obviously, ignores and sets out to reason with Bludvist, who Hiccup believes is a fellow dragon tamer that can be reasoned with instead of a crazed tyrant.
Along the way Hiccup and Stoik are able to rejoin their mother, whom they had thought was dead and learn that she has also been a dragon tamer for years. Living among dragons, in fact, Hiccups mom, named Valka, is able to teach Hiccup many things that he hadn’t known about dragons. One such fact being that every nest has an Alpha and that every dragon is under the control of a particular alpha. If to alphas should meet and one kills the other, the dragons that were formally under the control of the killed alpha will follow their new master. This is the source of Bludvist’staming ability. He controls his own alpha and therein controls other dragons to do his biding. Honestly, Bludvist of the only thing I dislike about the film. His villainy is fairly one dimensional there is never any real showdown between Hiccup and him. Rather, Hiccups trust dragon Toothless becomes the hero of the story. Becoming the most adorable little Alpha that could. It honestly just left me wanting more out of Hiccup. I WANTED Hiccup to show that his way of dragon taming was superior to Bludvists and that he, not Drago, is the King-companion of dragons.
Honestly, I have already shared my thoughts about the main villain. I thought he was fairly one dimensional. I know that mystery can often enhance the appeal of a villain, nothing is more frightening that a villain who is sinister for no other reason than just to watch the world around him burn. But they did not do that with Drago Bludist. They gave him a back story as a hero-gone-villain. He set out to save the world from the Dragon scurge but instead got sucked up by the power of it all. Rather than trying to make a peaceful world, he chose a world that he could control. He thinks of the small Hiccup as his biggest threat. He has earned his reputation as being the mighty dragon tamer and he cannot fathom anyone else being better than him. This is where my biggest issue with Drago comes in…They kept hinting at this big showdown between Hiccup and Drago over who would be the BEST tamer, but that showdown essentially never happens. It honestly just leaves the viewer wanting more, WANTING to see a showdown.
I first thought that the introduction of Hiccup’s mother would feel cheesy, forced or annoying… I mean…. who leaves their child and husband for years?! My first thought was that she deserved to be hated by both Hiccup and Stoik. However, I was incredibly wrong on this point. He reintroduction allows for some of the best scenes in the movie, from Toothless being crazy adorable and catlike, to the emotional scene of Stoik seeing his wife, that he still deeply cares about, for the first time. Its downright beautiful!
Hiccup and Toothless obviously steal the show, however. Whether its them searching the globe for uncharted lands or them learning more about themselves in the dragon nest than they would have otherwise, the duo make the movie fun. Toothless is adorable, cat-like and playful… everything the dreaded nighfury SHOULDN’T be and it is hilarious. Hiccup carries a strong sense of purpose and duty, everything befitting of a future chief of Berk and he displays it marvelously throughout the film, even if he doesn’t see such qualities himself.
I absolutely loved this film, it honestly just might be my favorite film of 2014. It is full of character development, emotional depth, action, humor, amazing visuals and much more! If you haven’t seen it, GO SEE IT YOU FOOL!!!!