How to Train Your Dragon 2 review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
When the first How to Train Your Dragon was released in 2010 I don’t think anybody was expecting the kind of film it turned out to be, not only was it more mature than your average childrens animation but it displayed a wealth of animated skill from the design of characters to the way landscapes were envisioned. The 2nd instalments still devotes itself to visual excellence, it’s the story that lets down this follow up.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 follows Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) five years after the events that changed his home of Birk for good. While he searches for new islands and dragons his father Stoick (Gerard Butler) is intent on him taking over his role as chief but when a mysterious danger in the form of Drago Bloodfist (Djimon Hounsou) emerges the two must team up with a mysterious dragon rider (Cate Blanchett) to protect their dragons and dragons all over the world.
While the star of the show is still Toothless, Hiccup’s faithful Night Fury the film devotes plenty of time to every dragon it can find which dilutes the pleasure of the personalised story of one man and his dragon. The film really tries to incorporate its side characters into the tale and while the addition of Kit Harington as a self absorbed dragon catcher provides a treat the film is overburdened and unfortunately too short to fit it all in.
The film by the end feels rushed as it jumps from an odd family drama to the films final battle with little warning or fanfare, in fact the final 20 minutes are a collection of sequences that never quite fit together making a 11th hour twist fall flat on its face despite the emotional ramifications it should have. All in all the film never reaches the highs of the first and by the end its easy to understand why as the film ends in a messy and half cooked final act that feels like the work of a lesser animated studio