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How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Worthy of the Hopes and Expectations You Are Afraid to Carry into the Theater
Unfortunately the marketing for this film is subpar and misleading, as it was for the first one. My best advice to you is ***AVOID THE TRAILERS AT ALL COSTS. They include major spoilers to some very emotional points in the film.
This is another level of animated film, one that gracefully crosses generational gaps and will speak volumes to any age group. Because of the critical and audience acclaim of the beloved predecessor, many are afraid that a sequel will not match the mastery of the first one, that this would be created purely as a money-making gimmick, like many Hollywood sequels. If these are your presumptions, you couldn't be more wrong. This film is worthy of all the hopes and expectations you are afraid to carry into the theater. DeBlois has told us a moving story, one that won't be soon forgotten, that so many of us will connect with. At Comic Con 2013, DeBlois said that this was "The Empire Strikes Back" of the trilogy. That is a hefty promise, which he has successfully delivered.
The world of HTTYD2 has been vastly expanded and explored, very little of the film takes place on Berk. It is much more of an adventure film. The film has taken everything from HTTYD to the next level: emotion, intensity, action, adventure, humor, and depth. It takes risks I have seen so few animated films take, full of twists and turns, that will keep you engaged and invested.
For me the film could have had a stronger beginning, a few less childish jokes, and a bit slower pacing (probably should have been about 10 minutes longer). Other than some very nit-picky notes, that is literally the worst that I can say about it.
HTTYD2 is a phenomenal film and will deservedly pick up the academy award for best animated film of the year. John Powell, will again be nominated (and hopefully win) for his inventively emotional score.
This was my most anticipated film of the past two years and it does not disappoint. The four years of work on it show, as it is a polished film. It is one of those rare films that inspires. And one of the few that you walk out of the theater feeling so much emotion and thinking "Gosh, I can't wait to see that again."