All original written content is (c) 2014 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
THIS WEEK: The sequel to Dreamworks’ HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON CG-animated hit with Viking kid Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his “night fury” dragon, Toothless.
He’s now five years older (20 to be specific), with some more village/family/life-changing decisions to make, while encountering a mysterious Dragon Rider and island of dragons, plus battling an evil dragon master. (I may have broken a record for the number of times “dragon” has been used in an intro.)
Written and directed by Dean DeBlois, based on Cressida Cowell’s “How to Train Your Dragon” book series.
- Almost all the entertaining, funny and enjoyable characters (including the dragons) from the first movie are back (except David Tennant’s Snotlout Jorgenson), plus a few more new ones.
- Again, the dragons steal the show…as they should! Tons more, of every size, shape and color. I could probably watch a whole film of just them. Especially the “dragon island” shots. Their animation was by far the best and most impressive. (The “alpha” dragon blew me away.) The kid characters are also fun and expressive.
- The flying scenes are the best part of the flick. Lots of POV shots (I could use more) and fun/funny/wild aerial stunts. In fact…that dragon-flying would make an awesome theme park ride. (Are you listening, Six Flags/Cedar Fair? I’ll take free admission for a year as my consultancy fee.)
- The costuming of the dragon rider is cool–in fact, it looked better with the helmet on!
- You probably already know the twist, but I’ll keep mum. Suffice to say, someone big comes back.
- The big baddie, Drago, has a great look and a voice to match (by Djimon Hounsou, sounding like a death metal band singer after a three-hour concert).
- Some nice humor between the kid characters and dragons that will please the kiddies and some of the grown-ups in the audience. One one “gross” gag involving regurgitated dragon food.
- If you think about it, a pretty positive portrayal for the handicapped. I’d forgotten that Hiccup lost his foot in the first film, but he totally rocks without it here and it doesn’t affect him one bit. (Same with Tootless’s tail.) That should make some kids feel better about themselves.
- Kristen Wigg’s Ruffnut (hilarious name) finds romance! Or maybe it’s just young lust. But pretty funny either way.
- Some good “lessons” involving negotiation, heroism, family, duty, fair animal treatment (except for sheep–see below) and a bunch of that kind stuff that’s important to parents. But it doesn’t come off too preachy.
- Some of the battle scenes are a might intense for the real little ones (including some unexpected death). On the other side, a couple older kids got fidgetty during the film, as it seemed a bit long. And of course, there are some tender and serious moments, which are boring to most kids.
- Despite the quality of the overall animation, the water scenes are pale in comparison. Especially if you’ve seen any recent Pixar or Disney films. They set the bar way high.
- Hiccup and friends act and look more like high-school teens than 20-somethings.
- Not a very appropriate flick for Father’s Day. (Although Gerard Butler turns in another good job as Daddy Stoick.)
- So if the dragons are such wonderful creatures to be treated with loyalty, love and respect, why are sheep nothing more than target practice and game balls? Funny, yes, but a bit contradictory message-wise.
- As with the first flick, one has to ask, “Scottish Vikings?”
Especially if you’re a parent looking for a decent flick to take the boys to. Girls will dig it too, but since most boys may not be keen on MALEFICENT, this one is more fella-friendly. Parents may have to buy the DVD later, of course, but unless you’re a real buff for this kind of stuff, the theater is fine for the flying especially. Didn’t see it in 3D, but the cinematography would probably make it worthwhile if you can afford it.
P.S.: Art boy Mike Pascale likes drawing dragons as much as babes and brutes. Want a commission? Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Tom Cruise or other time travellers. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the citizens of Berk, Vikings, Scots, or dragons. Bru-Hed would like a small dragon to replace his BBQ.