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'How to Train Your Dragon 2' review: Animated perfection

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How to Train Your Dragon 2


"How to Train Your Dragon 2" begin its theatrical run in 2D and 3D starting yesterday.

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Five years after the events of the first film, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" portrays Berk as a peaceful village that has grown extremely attached to the dragons. These amazing creatures have become a part of each of the villagers families as the village itself has been modified to cater to the dragons including the town being protected from fire and all you can eat troughs located all over town.

As the majority of the village enjoys a thrilling game of dragon racing, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless are off discovering uncharted territories. Hiccup has a drastic urge to find himself since his father Stoick (Gerard Butler) has presented Hiccup with the task of becoming Berk's new chief. They stumble upon the remains of a destroyed fort encased in a massive ice structure and meet a group of dragon trappers lead by Eret (Kit Harington) who claims they're capturing dragons for Drago Bludvist's (Djimon Hounsou) dragon army.

As Stoick prepares Berk for war, Hiccup does everything within his power to keep the peace. On his journey to talk things through with Drago, Hiccup meets the mystifying Dragon Rider who then shows him the hiding place of hundreds of new dragons.

After somehow completely missing the opportunity to see the first film in theaters, seeing "How to Train Your Dragon 2" in theaters was an absolute must. New computer animation technology was developed for the film by DreamWorks and it's absolutely noticeable. The animation is more smooth and crisper in comparison to the first film. The facial expressions alone are just extraordinary, but there are also some really incredible perspectives used in the film that allow you to feel like you're sitting right next to Hiccup as he flies through the air on the back of Toothless.

The animated sequel takes cues from "The Empire Strikes Back" the same way "Skyfall" took cues from "The Dark Knight." Drago operates in a way that is similar to how Darth Vader operates; he makes a fool of the hero and becomes more powerful by building what seems like an unstoppable army. The film has this very lighthearted approach at first where everything seems to be going smoothly for the heroes before it all goes downhill, tragedy strikes, and the lead character is thwarted with the task of stepping up and becoming the heroic figure he was always destined to.

The personality of Toothless was a selling point of the first film and it only seems to be stronger and showcased on an even bigger scale this time around. Toothless is not only fierce and fast on the battlefield, but he's also adorable and can get his thoughts across with a slanted eyebrow glare or a series of grunts.

"How to Train Your Dragon 2" is a sequel that not only lives up to the original film, but is a rare instance where it might actually surpass its predecessor. With its stunning visuals, majestic score, compelling perspectives, its massive yet impressive sense of scope, and its breathtaking camera angles, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is undeniably phenomenal and the undisputed animated film of the summer.


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