Yup, saw it tooHow to Train Your Dragon 2
= The first film was indeed that "pleasant surprise" out of Dreamworks (who otherwise have...a not so hot reputation more often than not). The sequel is great and "worthy" of the series.
= There's less bad than good in this, and i can summarize it quickly...
So on a quick negative: The first movie had a TON of heart, and a great sense of character/plot growth and development... This was more an established world and throws you right into the action and at a high pace. Good in some respects, but creates quite the contrast with the first title; a lot more feels like it's happening and I'm not sure the balance they strike really works... It emphasizes certain scenes but makes a mess of the plot progression.
= Also, while I know this is a family movie, I did get annoyed that most violence had the camera change shots so you couldn't see it. Sound effects for said violence was either hushed or muted entirely. I get why, but c'mon... I don't think our youth are THAT sensitive. Still, I did like that even FOR a Family film, the plot and humour is never really too cheesy and there is really NO groan-worthy moments. The one duet that starts with Stoic and his wifey becomes much more uplifting (unlike say a Disney tune that keep the mellow beat and romantic vibe the entire two-three minutes). Well done!
= Music is *amazing*. John Powell killed it the first time around
and similarly made an up beat, Scottish-sounding, and wonderful soundtrack. I was oddly fond of the Powell/JÃƒÂ¸nsi mix as well that starts somewhat like dance music but combines the orchestrated version of the main theme quite nicely http://youtu.be/HHOwYqxBbWU
= To counter that, I *loved* the "new world" of Humans x Dragons that we see; the five year gap works really well. The new technologies are both fun and interesting and it works to see Hiccup (who was more of an "inventor" than warrior
amongst his Viking clan)... and yeah, motherfucking fire sword
. Hiccup takes a level in how to be a badass and also "Neville Longbottomed".
. The character models look wonderful, they aged nicely and are made with a lot of cartoon love and respect for variety (i.e.; unlike how Frozen's leading ladies look almost EXACTLY like Rapunzel from Tangled...). This was especially important in the fun and interesting Dragon designs where none two are alike and all look unique for some feature they embody.
= New character additions aren't bad either. Eret is played by Kit Harrington (aka "You know nothin' Jon Snow") the good/bad guy, Cate Blanchett plays Hiccups long lost mum (who is both commanding and vulnerable), and Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Gladiator) as the main villain... a frightening but frighteningly under-developed and trope-y villain.... ah well.
= Grim didn't care for the love plot; I kind of agree, but I liked the goofy resolution (because it's true) :P
Ironically, the main couple from the first film (Astrid x Hiccup) get little screentime; but I did like what/when they shared the time together.
= One thing I liked was how the first (and this) film focus a lot on "how dragons live", their sort of nuances, customs and behaviours --- I like that this film also touches on what humans do (Stoic and Valka doing a jig; the viking funeral, etc.).
= Hah... crazy
dragon lady. :P
= I think background gags are hilarious and painfully underused. This movie had a few where characters are talking, usually about something serious, and something amusing is happening in the background.
= Anyways, it must be said too; the cinematography is absolutely *amazing*. Shots are carefully framed, assuming because they took every liberty to match the storyboard artist's visions. The colour is both vivid and realistic, using atmospheric depth to demonstrate how big scenery is (which works when your plot is about dragons). A scene with Valka, brilliantly armored, standing on her Dragon and an even larger one consuming the background drives the art direction to glorify scenes just through merely a good set up.