Score = A
(Animation-Action–Adventure / PG)
Review by: Kisho Wolfe
Logline: A Chief always protects his people
Hiccup is a young Viking of adventure. He’s always on the go in search of undiscovered lands to add to his map, because as we all know; there’s always something more out there. But, he’s the son of a chief, and with that comes responsibility. That responsibility includes being groomed to one day take over the duty of looking after the townsfolk. Although he seems reluctant to even think about his destiny, there is always someone else willing to accept the job.
Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is considered The Dragon Master in the town of Berk. If it wasn’t for his uncanny ability to domesticate dragons in part one of the series, the town would still be at war with these wonderful beasts. Unfortunately for the dragons, he’s not the only one with wrangling abilities.
Drago (voiced by Djimon Hounsou) is a dragon master of a different breed. Rather than earning a dragon’s trust and friendship, he uses fear and intimidation to demand their loyalty. And why, you ask? To build an army of course; even if it means tearing through the town of Berk to achieve this.
The movie is penned by Canadian screenplay writer Dean Deblois, who is also responsible for a little gem called Lilo and Stitch. The material for the ‘Dragon series movies was adapted from the books written by talented Londoner Cressida Cowell, who has an impressive collection of children’s books under her belt in addition to the How to Train Your Dragon series. And with the number of source material we have here, I think this series might actually give Mrs. Rowling’s famous wizard a run for his money in terms of books to movie conversions by the same author, in the same series; especially if the movies keep turning out as good as the first two.
There is just not enough room on this page to really discuss the many things this movie gets right. Vocal talent and delivery, check… Cate Blanchet, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, etc. It’s like a smorgasbord of well-known talent on this project. Striking visuals, check. The personalities and traits of each dragon are portrayed so well through the animation, you will definitely want one by the end of the movie. Story, double-check. Comic, love and tragic elements to play with the gamut of human emotions, triple check. In fact, it’d be easier for everyone to note what was NOT perfect in the movie. And even then, it’s only with a trained eye that I’m even mentioning it. That rough little culprit would be the lip syncing.
There were a number of points during the movie when the animation on the lips just didn’t quite line up with the words being heard through the speakers. I’m thinking maybe the animators on lip-sync duty may have possibly been on a time crunch and didn’t have a chance to put the fine polish on some of those vowels for better sound to visual integration. But again, I’m not sure how obvious this is to an untrained eye, and it by no means disrupts the enjoyment of the movie.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a straight up solid film and is right on par with the first movie in terms of quality. This one scores an A for a positively delightful way to spend a couple of hours out of your day.