|Genre:||Animation, Action, Adventure|
|Starring:||Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler|
Users review: Note: If youve seen the trailers, then this review can be considered spoiler-free. Otherwise, beware!How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a crime against film. Not that its criminally bad, but that it goes against everything film is. Film is art, but How to Train Your Dragon 2 is mere product. It regurgitates themes and ideas from the first film without supplying any original concepts of its own. It does what will generate excitement among fans of the first, and waits for the box office returns. I simply cant understand who would support such a naked cash grab.Berk is a much happier place to live than it was at the start of the first How to Train Your Dragon. The residents of Berk now own their own dragons, and they participate and spectate various Dragon-oriented games and races. But Hiccup and Co. uncover a mysterious group of dragon- catchers, and most surprisingly (unless youve seen the trailers): Hiccups long-lost mother.Among many other frustrating things about How to Train Your Dragon 2 is Hiccups new character design. Not only is it obvious bait for teenage girls (a large portion of the demographic for this movie), but it doesnt make sense. Hiccup remains nerdy and goofy, but his new look betrays that. Also, none of the other characters have changed much at all in terms of appearance. Sure, some of the kids have a little peach fuzz, and Stoick has some white in his beard, but thats it! No ones appearance changes as dramatically as Hiccups.This is further evidence at the lack of effort put into this film. The entire movie is running on visuals (which are, admittedly, gorgeous) and lame gags that rarely generate laughter or even smiles. Many of said gags are among the cute variety, which should enchant small children and grandparents, but leave most teens cold.The plot is often forgotten, which leads to weird pacing issues. A standard film should have a beginning, middle, and end. How to Train Your Dragon 2 has a very long beginning, and a very long ending. The beginning of the film establishes the plot, subsequently forgets it, and then introduces Hiccups mother (a character that is only there to create a cheap twist at the beginning). The end is just a very long and dull series of battle sequences, filled with contradictions, cheap solutions, and vague explanations. For a fantasy film to really work, I believe it needs strong characters more than anything else. Unfortunately, this cast does not fit the bill (this problems also plagued the first film). While Hiccup is likable, his makeover diminishes his appeal. The supporting cast is either annoying or boring. The exception being Gobber and (surprisingly) Ruffnut, who provides some of the films only successful comedy, thanks to her new love interest.The voice cast itself is fine, if unspectacular. Jay Baruchel makes no attempts to change his voice to match the new character design for Hiccup, but the performance itself is fine. Newcomers, Cate Blanchett, Kitt Harrington, and Djimon Hounsou provide serviceable performances.Other than the animation, the only truly great thing about How to Train Your Dragon 2 is John Powells score. He follows up his enormously enjoyable work in the original with a score that nearly equals it. It brings back the old themes, introduces some new ones, and puts into one fiercely enjoyable package. The only real downside is that one of the songs in the film (For the Dancing and Dreaming) has a melody thats almost identical to Noble Maiden Fair from 2012s Brave. This remains the only blemish in the music department (excepting the Jonsi song).How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a soulless and empty motion picture. It fails to take risks or introduce creative ideas that differ from anything seen in the first. Its frantic attempts to expand upon the universe result in continuity issues with the first film. How to Train Your Dragon 2 exists only to steal money from the fans of the first film, and perhaps create a stronger presence in the terrifying realm of fan...