Sunday, June 29, 2014

Discussion: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Like most of the world, I feel in love with How To Train Your Dragon in a way I could have never imagined. Everything about that movie was perfection and though I thought it looked like a cool concept, I never expected to love it the way I did.

So I was more than a little skeptical when I heard there was going to be a sequel. Then I saw the direction they were going. They decided to start this story five years later which made Hiccup a young adult. I'm not sure if it is ever confirmed but I imagined he was around 17. But I got really excited for their character designs and for the fact that they could now tell an entirely new story.

Hiccup and Toothless in How To Train Your Dragon

Hiccup and Toothless in How To Train Your Dragon 2

And boy did they! I'll get into some spoiler-y plot stuff soon but suffice to say, this movie is wonderful. I'm not going to review it per say, but I wanted to touch on some of the things I loved about it. Again, there will be spoilers ahead.

1) Hiccup and Astrid's relationship

I love, love, LOVED the portrayal of Hiccup and Astrid's relationship in this movie. From the moment they get on screen together, there is this naturalness with them that feels real and the movie makers left us loads of little clues about this. For instance, Hiccup begins the movie with one braid in his hair but when Astrid sits next to him, she braids another strand which stays there the rest of the movie. We already know that Astrid wears her hair in braids so it feels so natural that she would braid his. He has two braids in his hair for the rest of the movie. Also, when she sits down next to him, he hands her his pen without any comment. You get the feeling that they have a routine, that they know what the other is thinking and I love that. Not to mention, we get to see how much they trust each other.

2) Hiccup and Toothless

Alright, you knew this one was going to be on there. In the first movie, the link between Hiccup and Toothless was beginning to form but by this movie, it is fully formed. They are one, thinking in unison, understanding each other and it is amazing to watch. I loved seeing how much they each rely on each other, Hiccup because he can move so much faster with Toothless and Toothless because Hiccup helps him fly. The fact that neither are complete without the other is this amazing bond and so much deeper than another boy and his pet story.

Because Hiccup and Toothless have such a tight bond, I found it really interesting that the movie decided to test them. Having Toothless kill Hiccup's father while under the influence of the alpha dragon, Bewilderbeast, was one of the most interesting things I've seen happen in a kid's movie. That is DARK on a level I never thought I'd witness. I understand that Toothless was being controlled and that this is really his first time dealing with something like that but I was shocked. Having their bond tested in such a visceral way was so sad to watch and I got really upset watching Hiccup shoo Toothless away when Toothless was trying to figure out what was going on.

I'm not sure I can entirely blame Hiccup for not wanting to figure Toothless for what he did and I could have watched an entire movie of them trying to find their way back to each other. I was satisfied with the ending, that Hiccup's willingness to forgive Toothless and trust him even though the recent past indicated that he shouldn't is what gave Toothless the strength to fight against his very nature but I would have loved to see more on that. Watching them fall back into trusting each other instantly, seeing how Toothless would save Hiccup without any regard for his own life and knowing Hiccup would do the same because without one, there really isn't the other, was so incredible.

3) The Comedic Relief of Ruffnut

This is a kid's movie after all and it is dealing with some really heavy stuff. It was nice to have Ruffnut coming into her own, noticing boys and providing a little bit of comic relief in the middle of the story. The parts with the boys were really funny but my favorite moment was when Ruffnut and Tuffnut get their dragon back and the head her brother rides on comes over to her and she pushes it away because she only likes her side of the dragon.

4) Hiccup's Mother

Disregarding the fact that she is exactly Hiccup and what she does for the story, my husband and I couldn't get over the way she was animated. She was so fluid in her movement, part wild animal herself. The moment when they are riding on their dragons together and she walks across all of the dragons, using her staff as a way to cling to one with a horn or when she was on her own and uses that staff to be lowered to the ground is one of the highlights of the entire movie. She was beautiful.

5) The Moment Stoick and Valka Reunite

If there was one moment in this film where I held my breath, it was this one. There was something so natural about the dumbfounded way Hiccup's father walked toward his mother, with her apologizing the entire time, and when he reached out and touched her face, it was beautiful. I know this is a small moment in the scheme of things, a great moment embedded in 120 minutes of great moments, but there was something so touching about it. You felt a real longing, a real love, a life they could of have, blossom right on screen.

6) Hiccup's Inventions

We knew Hiccup thought out side of the Viking ship the first time we met him. His inventions were nothing compared to what we get in this movie. This time around, he has loads of gadgets he's been perfecting over the five years since we've met him and I love that this is something carried over to the next movie. He has never had brute strength on his side and must rely on his brains to keep him alive. His new fire engulfed sword is a wonderful example of that. We even get to see all the neat things it can do in a comical sequence where Hiccup and Astrid are "captured".

7) The Dragon Animation

Oh. My. God. Watching the dragon interact with human is wonderful but even better than that is watching them interact with each other. I could watch the scene where we first get to see Astrid and Hiccup together a million times because as much as I was focused on Astrid and Hiccup, I was also trying to watch the dragons in the background. They were playing fetch (with an entire tree), smelling each other and playing around. The dragon interactions were just insanely good.

I could keep going. The plot change up from Hiccup being right in the first movie to his father being right in the second one, the interesting way they fought a war with dragons, the addition of Eret (Son of Eret) learning about how amazing dragons could be in a single scene, and more make this movie INCREDIBLE. If you are a fan of dragons, coming of age stories, Vikings, cats, dogs, wolves, owls, family stories or you know, have eyeballs and a heart, I think you'll like this movie.

I want to know if you saw it. Did you like it?

1 comment:

  1. I loved the first movie so much so I really need to get on and see this one!


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