How To Train Your Dragon 2 Review: Hiccup Is Toothless

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The title is a play on words. Get it? Toothless. Hehe.

Dreamworks' How To Train Your Dragon 2 is the best animated film that the company has made. Period. Set five years after the first film, it opens with the people of Berke working and playing alongside dragons. Now, everyone has at least one dragon. Hiccup and his crew return with their respective dragons just as entertaining as ever. The main focus of Dragon 2 is that a dragon hunter is capturing all of the dragons. A mysterious figure (already spoiled in the trailer but I won't spoil it here) is taking them back. And now, Hiccup is in the middle of the whole situation.

There are a few subplots that go along with the main plot of the film. Snotlout (Jonah Hill) and Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) both pine over Ruffnut (Kristin Wiig) who only wants the dragon trapper Eret (Kit Harington). This proves to be the tension breaker in an oddly serious kids film. Hiccup has to deal with many problems but the biggest has to be his father Stoick wanting him to take over as cheifton of the tribe, a job his son does not want.

Voice acting in the film is top notch with every character hitting the right notes of each scene. We can really feel the pain and loss in the love Stoick shows for his newly found wife. Jay Baruchel was having a good time voicing an older, more mature Hiccup. And Craig Ferguson was right at home as the funny yet endearing Gobbeer. Dreamworks also employed the use of their new animation system that causes the little things like Fishlegs' jiggling cheeks as he flies through the air and new camera positions that changed the dynamic of lighting. The new system proves its worth.

The only thing that hinders Dragon 2 is the rushed story structure. The film starts off fast and continues at that breakneck pace. This practice may have worked for Madagascar 3 but this series needs to be taken in a more serious fashion. It has to be slower in order to smooth out the story aspects like the death of a dragon, a major battle sequence, or a relationship I'd like to see more of. Speaking of major battles, there are two in the third act of the film that raise the stakes but aren't really explored. We get to see the largest dragons ever but they are kind of wasted. And Djimon Hounsou is just wasted as the main villain who gets the lightest of backstories I have ever seen.

Should you go see How To Train Your Dragon 2?

Heck yes! This movie is one of the best animated movies to come out since Pixar's last effort (that wasn't Planes. Screw Planes). The animation and acting are fantastic. I'd love to see Dragon 2 win academy awards. Of course, Lego Movie is going to win way more.