Good day to you ladies and gents, today I'm ready to give you a film review in the form of [How to Train Your Dragon 2](movie:44736). Now I only saw the first film a few weeks ago, but I ended up really liking it and it was a lot better than I expected it to be. I'd heard many good things about this film prior to its release in the UK and my expectations were set pretty high. So how does this animated sequel fare? Well read on and find out!
In terms of the story, it takes place five years after the first film, featuring Hiccup and his friends as young adults. Most of the Vikings are enjoying life with the dragons, while Hiccup and Astrid along with their dragons are charting unmapped territories and discovering new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the Hiccup and company find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.
If I had to describe this film in one word; 'incredible' would be the word that comes to mind. What I really appreciated is the fact that the film did everything a good sequel should, it didn't re-hash the prequel but it also didn't change so radically that it was unrecognizable to fans of the first film. This film presents new challenges and adventures along with danger, drama and mystery. I love how this film is still hiccups adventure and even in the face of adversity he tries to do what's right. There are only a few things I wasn't keen on; some of the humour was still a little childish for me and there are certain codes and conventions that come with these kind of adventure films that have been done in many films before that I feel need to be broken, but otherwise everything else was fine.
When it comes to the cast they were all pretty good. Jay Baruchel as Hiccup, he was nice, I like how he has matured but at the same time is still in the same mindset as before, he's an adventurer but also a pacifist. Baruchel does a good job in his role but he still sounds like the least manly hero in any animated film ever. Cate Blanchett as Valka (Stoick's wife and Hiccup's long-lost mother) was lovely and so cool. She is a very wise, brave and courageous woman, but is also a very fragile person with depths of emotion. Gerard Butler is incredible as Stoick, he is a man who cares for his son but also for the well-being of his clan on the island. I love how stubborn, determined and tough he is, but also how emotional the man can be and he had some of my favourite moments in the film. Craig Ferguson is great as Gobber the Belch, he's still Stoick's right-hand man and is a source for a lot of the humour in the film too.
America Ferrera, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are still good as Astrid, Snotlout and Fishlegs. Also T.J. Miller and Kristen Wiig as Tuffnut and Ruffnut Thorston are still just a great as ever, that being said I feel like Ruffnutt was way better than her brother because she had more screen time and more funny moments. Djimon Hounsou made for a great villain as Drago Bludvist, he has a history with dragons and wishes to control them. I love how cruel, intimidating and brutal he was, he was a bit crazy, but also definitely had great screen presence and I could totally tell from his first appearance that he was voiced by a black man. And Kit Harington is pretty good as Eret, this guys starts out as an enemy but converts to the side of justice later on and he is fairly charismatic, silly and funny too.
As for the presentation, it is beyond awesome both on the visual and audio side of things. Visually the film is so beautiful, the detail in the characters, dragons, scenery and skies is gorgeous, and moving through it with all the tracking shots and sweeping camera movements is so breathtaking. I thought the first film looked good but this film goes FAR beyond that. The last film only came out four years ago and yet Dreamworks have outdone themselves, the action sequences have so beautiful use of colours, wonderful cinematography and an amazing sense of scope, so cool, beautiful and free-flowing. The soundtrack also by John Powell is SO good! His score is just screaming with sounds of wonder, adventure, playfulness, drama and emotion.
In conclusion How To Train Your Dragon 2 is one of the best animated films I've seen in a while, it's my favourite animated sequel since Toy Story 3 and probably my favourite animated film since Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It Ralph. The film had the action, the spectacle and it had the heart and it was all blended together in a wonderful way. I highly recommend this film as it is a good time for both kids and adults.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
So what did you think of How To Train Your Dragon 2? How do you think it fares compared to the last film and do you think this was better or worse than the prequel? Are you looking forward to [How to Train Your Dragon 3](movie:570818)? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I'll see ya on the next film review yo. :)