philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)
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How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

I'm not so fond as most with the first HTTYD movie. I think it's great, but not up there with the best Pixar films. Still these films are actually based on a book series, so there's presumably a fairly wide scope to expand the HTTYD universe.



That being said, while this sequel kept promising to expand the universe in interesting directions, it doesn't really go very far.

It's quite bizarre how HTTYD2 both starts and finishes by saying that their town is special because they have dragons, despite having encountered a whole bunch of other people who have dragons over the course of the story.



Earlier this year Amazing Spider-Man 2 cut short a central relationship which had been vital to the series' success. Now HTTYD2 has done the same and in both cases I think the filmmakers have made a mistake.

A series thrives on the interactions and developments of its characters and while it's certainly shocking when a character is gone for good, you've got to weigh up the pros and cons. In Alien3 I can understand killing off the annoying child character in order to emphasise the hopelessness of the protagonist's circumstances. But when you are losing one of your most talented performers you need to think more carefully.



HTTYD2 introduces us to a wider world where dragons are recognised as more than just rampaging beasts by a growing number of figures. However, in expanding the mythology it seems to forget the events of the previous instalment.

One 'new' addition to the mythology is a dragon who controls the other dragons - except that was the main villain of the last movie, wasn't it?

We also have a human villain who wants to control the dragons. And apparently characters who had previously never believed training dragons was possible all know about the evil dragon trainer already.



And then there's Hiccup's mother who is, quite frankly, mad. I think some of her craziness might be intentional, but when she's criticising the slaughter of dragons it's never quite explained how nuts that would have been at the time.



Let's just remind ourselves of the scenario of the previous film. The dragons were stealing all their animals. It turns out that they were doing this in order to feed a bigger dragon that was controlling them but the fact remains that they were threatening the town's livelihood and the townfolk were losing their limbs trying to fight the.dragons off. In such a scenario suggesting that they simply leave the dragons alone would be dooming the town to starvation and ruin. It was only the ability to train the dragons which ended that situation.



Oh and she abandons Hiccup as a baby. I think she deserved a lot more criticism for that than she ever receives here.

Oh and the bit where she and Gerard Butler are singing together kind of irritated me.

All this being said, while I found the plot hard to get on board with, the effects were wonderful - particularly the water effects. And there are a lot of funny little touches such as the way the dragons play fetch and mess around. The dragons make for very.endearing pets in this film. (Albeit at the expense of some unfortunate traumatised sheep.) So in spite of all my criticisms here and there, I did have a good time with this film. It's an enjoyable watch, but it's not a step-up for the series. Just a fun bit of entertainment so long as you don't worry too much about the shallowness of the plot or the message.



One last thing: The question is raised whether Hiccup should become chief. Is it me or is the solution obvious? Hiccup's strengths are as an inventor and animal trainer, but his girlfriend is a capable warrior and would be perfect as the new chief, wouldn't she?

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