After 4 long years of waiting, the much anticipated How To Train Your Dragon 2 is finally released. I was so excited for it that I went to watch it on 6 June, the first day the film premiered. Just like the first film, the sequel never fails to deliver and I find it to be one of the best animation films I ever watched, much more better than Frozen (which I never liked) in my own opinion. The following 5 reasons explain why I find this film to be better than the first.
Reason 1: Top grade animation even to the finest detail
The animators have really taken their jobs seriously, and the animations in this film could just be one of Dreamworks’ best yet. I am especially amazed by the scene whereby Hiccup first enters the dragon sanctuary and sees all the dragons that Valka rescued and this was the most beautiful scene in the entire movie. Every dragon was intricately designed even to the smallest details and although these dragons do not really make much appearance or play a big role in the storyline, they are very well-designed for backgrounders. The animators really deserve a big thumb up for this. Thus, I find that the film was better than the first.
Reason 2: The Battle at the Sanctuary
It is not in many animation films that you get to see a full scale war between two parties. In the case of How To Train Your Dragon 2, the film not only presented to us a battle scene seldom seen in animation film, it also presented one that is going to take your breath away. I find it great that the animators have tried to make the battle sequence more intense so that we will be filled with anticipation as to what is going to happen next. This unpredictable nature of the film is another aspect of it which I like. Thus, I feel that this film is better than the first.
Reason 3: Showing stark contrast and similarities between characters
(in this case between Hiccup and Stoick, Valka and Drago and as well as between their Bewilderbeast)
I really like the way the film portrays some of its characters as exact counterparts of each other. First of all, upon hearing that Drago is building a dragon army, Stoick puts Berk in complete lockdown and prepares for war while Hiccup feels that war can be avoided and he can change Drago’s mind, which he failed to do so eventually. Moreover in the case of Valka and Drago, although both of them have their own dragon armies, the way they treat them and their alpha are very different. Valka deeply respects her Bewilderbeast and dedicates herself to protect her dragons at all cost. Whereas for Drago, his Bewilderbeast and dragon army are nothing more than his slaves who act as weapons of mass destruction for him and he has no respect for the rights and lives of the dragons. I feel that it is really interesting for viewers to pick out the similarities and differences in the character traits of the character and see how these traits played out in the end. The writers should be given credit for being able to come up with similar yet contrasting characters and thus I feel that this film is better than the first.
Reason 4: The further exploration of the father-son and mother-son relationship
In any films, there are always changes in relationship between two characters as the film progresses. Take the example of Po and Tigress and Po and Shifu in the first Kung Fu Panda for example. What I liked most about th4e first film is how the film develops on the relationship between Stoick and Hiccup and the film goes on. At the start, Stoick was unapproving of his son killing dragons, before enrolling him into the dragon fighting class. He returns to find that his son has become an expert when dealing with dragons and became proud of him. After finding out about Toothless, he becomes disappointed in Hiccup and disowns him (one of the most touching and emotional moments in the film). After Hiccup comes to his rescue in the battle with the Red Death, Stoick apologises to Hiccup and says that he is proud to have Hiccup as a son (another of the film’s most touching and emotional moments). After everything ended, Hiccup was well on good terms with his dad who has finally come to accept him for who he is. These ups and downs and exploration of the father-son relationship was one of the most likeable aspects of the first film which I felt contributed greatly to the success of the film. However, we learn that some things never change and Hiccup and his dad still has some issues with one another. Not mentioning some of the episodes in the TV series, in this film, the problem between Hiccup and Stoick is that Stoick is hoping that Hiccup succeeds him, but Hiccup just runs off. In this film, what we see is more of the mother-son relationship between Hiccup and Valka. However, the father-son relationship was what left many fans in tears after Stoick dies and Hiccup decides to carry on his father’s legacy. Moving on to the mother-son relationship between Valka and Hiccup, remember at the start of the movie when Hiccup told Astrid “I am nothing like my father, I have never seen my mother, so what does that make me?” I find it great that the writers addressed this issue as Hiccup and Valka are two very similar peace-loving individuals who has forged strong relationship with dragons, not to mention that they are both the first dragon riders (though Valka would definitely be the first). My point is, it was great that in this film, Hiccup decides to carry on his father’s legacy and found his long-lost mother whom he can now also very closely relate to and I am really looking forward to see how Hiccup is doing as chief and how the mother-son relationship is further explored in the third film. Hence, I feel that this film is better than the first.
Reason 5: Happiness Short-Lived
The final reason why I found this film to be better than the first was because of an unexpected twist- Stoick’s death. Before I watched the film, I suspected that if somebody was going to be killed off in this film, it would be Valka, although I was hoping that she would survive to the end of the film so that we can see more of Hiccup’s family interaction in the next film. When Stoick died, I was hoping that there had been some ‘mistakes’ and he somehow miraculously survives. However, after the held the ship burial for Stoick, I was devastated and moved to tears. I can really feel for Hiccup at that moment. Many factors actually led to Stoick’s death being an emotional one for me. First of all, Stoick had just united with the wife who he thought he would not ever see again. Hence, his sudden death led to his happiness of being reunited with his long-lost wife being short-lived. Moreover, to add on to this, it was Toothless who dealt the fatal blow on Stoick, thus making the scene feel more emotional for me, especially when Hiccup chases Toothless away as the latter tried to comfort the former. Stoick’s death and Hiccup’s reactions to it has truly touched my heart especially when Hiccup decides to take over his father’s legacy and return to Berk to stop Drago for good. Hence, the sudden death of Stoick touched me deeply and this loss for Hiccup is something which I find makes the film better than the first as the emotions of the characters present at the scene reaches out to the audience who can really feel for Hiccup (in my cinema, there were quite a number of other people shocked and cried because of this loss).
In conclusion, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is the movie of the year for me and it has not only lived up to its expectations, it exceeded them. I am really hoping that this film does wonders and touches the hearts of billions of people around the world and does extremely well in the box office. I am certainly looking forward to the third film in 2016 as well as the Dreamworks Dragon Masters series next year where we can still see more of Stoick.