Sunday, November 30, 2014

Movie with Abe: How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2
Directed by Dean DeBlois
Released June 13, 2014

There may not actually be any meaning behind it, but when a sequel simply sports a number added to its title rather than a full subtitle, it often indicates that returning to the first film’s world should prove enticing enough for eager audiences. The hook of the original “How to Train Your Dragon” was that its protagonist, Hiccup, thought outside the box, daring to consider the dangerous and demonized dragons as potential friends. The task of a good sequel, particularly an animated one, is to amplify the plot by introducing a new villain and a new problem to create unrest that must be resolved to restore the tranquility achieved by the first film’s end.

The first film succeeded in being charming and energizing due to the nature of its plot, though it was defined more by its message than its literal content. The same thing is true in the sequel, as Hiccup, a newfound hero of the village, encounters a new enemy unwilling to be convinced of his worldview of dragons, determined to continue hunting them and to take down all those who might stand against him. As expected, it’s acceptance and kindness that must prevail, and Hiccup is just the protagonist to fulfill that role, fighting to prove that understanding others is the only way to succeed.

Sequels tend to be more confident than their predecessors, and that’s certainly the case with this film, which finds Hiccup no longer constrained by being unpopular or outspoken. Though his father continues to think of him as overly idealistic and not fully prepared for the real world, Hiccup has earned himself a certain respect, and that makes him a formidable and endearing hero. If anything, it amplifies the effect of his efforts and helps him to carry the film. There is something inherently recognizable about this film and its universe, making it in an inviting and familiar place. This story isn’t all that memorable, but it’s a successful return to a franchise that could well produce many more exciting and well-received installments in the future.


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