Posted June 7, 2014 by Yuri Mangahas in Movies/TV

MOVIE REVIEW: “How To Train Your Dragon 2″ – A Sequel Full Of Heart

See, here’s the notion when it comes to sequels: 1. The plotline’s usually rehashed from the first flick, 2. It has a grim tendency of stuffing in characters until everything becomes blurry, and 3. It flops out. Those were my initial fears upon stepping into the resides of the cinema. History has dictated that particular notion, and only a few from the animated genre had succeeded. Fortunately, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is one of those success stories, one that is far greater than previous CGI fests.

Set five years after the events of the first Dragon, this latest outing expands the story further, exploring other lands outside that of Berk. It also touches a couple of topics which Hiccup’s previous adventure only implied, signifying the growth of their target demographic alongside their heroes.

Berk has taken a significant change following the defeat of the Red Death. Their populace has finally learned how to coexist with dragons, and all fears of the said creatures were put to rest. Once an awkward teen, Hiccup(still voiced by Jay Baruchel) has now grown into a handsome young man who’s set to succeed his father, Stoick(Gerard Butler) as chieftain of the village. But too many experiences remain, compelling the thrill-seeking Viking lad to spend every free moment away from the tribe, drawn to whatever lies beyond the edges of his map. Unknown to the young lad, his adventure will lead him to a revelation regarding his family, as well as a new threat that may destroy the peaceful truce between mankind and dragons.

 “Look everyone! I got a badass dragon and a sequel movie! Also, a flaming sword. Eat that, Star Wars!”

I liked how the CG work have improved since the 2010 outing. They did a great job of creating a Berk that’s visibly different than its iteration five years ago. The action sequences were beautifully crafted, producing fluid scenes that are a sure treat for our eyes. The environments were lush, gorgeous, and almost surreal on a visual level. There is utmost detail in every bit of this movie, and that won’t go unnoticed particularly in 3D. The expressions are also spot on, distinguishing one’s trait from the other and matching the script perfectly. There’s also a sense of scale, one that’s far bigger than the last film.

Unlike other flicks directed at kids, How To Train Your Dragon 2 present themes that are relatively untouched prior. Topics such as mortality, responsibility, lineage, and the difficulty of making choices were expounded upon, developing new layers with the cast. It’s not your usual Rated G movie. While it’s true that it’s not as dark as Game of Thrones, it succeeds on adding more sensibility for a broader audience.

The voice acting is also superb. Jay Baruchel’s Hiccup has changed a whole lot to mirror his maturity, but the trademark quirk and awkwardness was retained. America Ferrera’s acting as Astrid is also stellar, serving as the humane voice of reason for our unlikely lead. Gerard Butler’s still strong and fit as ever for Stoick. He was also able to provide a more emotional depth to the character, bridging the gap between his fun loving persona, the Berk chief, and the father. Newcomer Cate Blanchett shines greatly as Valka, bringing an air of freshness into the movie. She was able to portray her perfectly, making us feel empathic of her ideals, as well as her backstory. Impressively, Kit Harrington also takes the spotlight for a couple of scenes as the dragon trapper Eret. His portrayal is vastly different than his Jon Snow in Thrones, showing his versatility as an actor. Kristen Wiig manages to capture our attention as well with her role as Ruffnut, depicting one of the common teenage tendencies effectively. Lastly, Djimon Honsou was a good villain. His Drago isn’t just a one dimensional stereotype, but someone with valid reasons for his goals. He was able to hit that character aspect bullseye.

In conclusion, Dreamworks may have produced one of its strongest sequels in How To Train Your Dragon 2, setting up a clear path for the finale two years from now. It’s not just your usual coming of age story, but one filled with great moments, themes, and heart. A must watch for every family.

10 Dragons Out Of 10!


Special thanks to 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros Philippines for the invites. You may follow them on Facebook to learn more about future screenings and updates about your favorite movies. 

Yuri Mangahas

Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.