This is a bit out of the norm for me since I rarely go out to the theatres to watch a movie. And I wasn’t intending to blog about this because I wanted to make this primarily about books. But for this movie, I’ll make an exception. And it’s loosely based on a book so forgive me?
How to Train Your Dragon 2 follows the adventures of Hiccup and Toothless 5 years after the first movie. Dragons are still a-frolicking but they have now become man’s best friend. A new enemy approaches in the form of Drago, a vicious Viking, who wants to have all of the dragons under his control.
One of the most memorable things about this movie is not the plot (although it is exciting), the music (although the music is fantastic) but the artwork. And it’s not just the animated artwork that stole my breath but it was the ending credits. After a movie ends, the ending credits roll and I typically leave during this time because there’s not much going on.
Stay. Stay a little bit longer. As the names of the actors flash on the screen, you barely register them because your gaze is captivated by the artwork. The screen shows the drawings with the most brilliant of colours and the subtle details that make this movie wonderful. I have never enjoyed ending credits as much as this movie.
I really appreciated how this is a growing movie. A lot of sequels to movies have the same characters at the exact same age except they’re faced with new challenges. It’s been 4 years since the last movie and seeing the entire Berk gang hit puberty and grow into young adults is a nice touch.
SPOILERS ARE IMMINENT.
What makes a great movie besides the actors, the plot, the directing? The music.
It creates atmosphere. It can add tension. It can give life to a scene. It has the power to take hold of your heart, stopping time and your breath at the same time.
When I first heard about a sequel, I was praying for John Powell to return as the composer. Mr. Powell…I thank you, along with the other fans, from the bottom of my heart.
I read some spoilers (drat it all) online and I had a vague idea about what was going to occur. Therefore, when Stoick saves Hiccup from Toothless’s blast, and we realize that he is dead, the music soared with a heart-wrenching and painful lift. I felt like I almost couldn’t breathe. Despite knowing the outcome, tears started gushing down my face. My sister had to hand me a packet of tissue paper.
I had a few misgivings about the singing parts (Stoick and Valka’s duet) that are a new addition to the movie. I was fearful of it becoming a film where everyone-expresses-what-they’re-doing-through-song-and-dance and it fortunately didn’t.
The music contains a few of the memorable melodies from the first movie, but with added instruments and interspersed with other melodies, making it both familiar and ethereal at the same time. While listening to the music and watching the story unfold, I utterly forgot where I was.
Fight scene after fight scene, the plot is action-packed. It’s very different from the first film where in HTTYD, the plot is centered more around the building of trust and loyalty, further strengthened in an epic battle against a huge dragon. While I enjoyed every single battle, I found it dizzying because there was so much stuff happening. I don’t think I breathed for a good quarter of the movie because my nerves were strung so tightly.
It took me on quite a roller-coaster of emotional turmoil, especially at Stoick’s part. I knew at some subconscious level, that Toothless was not to blame for his death but I couldn’t help but feel this surge of anger at the dragon for what had transpired. As soon as I had that thought, my feelings did a 180 and I found myself mentally screaming at Hiccup: It’s not his fault! Stop yelling at him! Toothless, don’t listen to him! This film is really trying to wring me dry of tears.
Despite being more action-oriented than its predecessor, the film allows for moments where you can truly see how strong Hiccup and Toothless’s bond with each other is. They protect each other. They are stronger together, capable of doing great feats. The amount of trust that they have in the other is insurmountable. They are each other’s partner, protector and best friend. Hiccup and Toothless are of one mind and one heart.
Even though the film is set 5 years later, I don’t think Hiccup really grew up until he had to step up as the chief of his village. He avoided the responsibilities of being chief, preferring to travel the world with Toothless. Losing his father really forced Hiccup to look into himself and find the strength to stand up for his people.
“You have the heart of a chief and the soul of a dragon”