Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington
Written by: Dean DeBlois, based on the books by Cressida Cowell
Directed by: Dean DeBlois
MPAA Rating: PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor
Running Time: 102
Date: 06/13/2014

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Tipping the Scales

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

By any measure, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is one of the most beautiful, dazzling animated films you're likely to see anytime soon. It has glorious aerial footage, swooping and diving at speed, with colorful backgrounds zooming by. It has so many shapes and colors, and an incredible sense of movement and sound, height, space and gravity. But... I'm afraid I lose interest after that. This movie and the original How to Train Your Dragon just seem to take themselves a bit too seriously. The characters are far less funny and charming than the characters in The Lego Movie or Big Hero 6, and they seem to be at the slavish service of the plot, rather than acting or behaving in any organic way. Both this film and Big Hero 6 include the death of a fairly major character, and I have to say that I was far less moved by this film.

In this film, Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is a bit more grown-up, and his antics from the previous film have resulted in a kind of utopia for his people. They all fly their own dragons now, and everyone is doing great. Until it's discovered that an evil dragon hunter is roaming the countryside, looking to catch any and all dragons. There's a love interest for Hiccup, and some comic relief, but the major plot point is that his long-lost mother (voiced by Cate Blanchett) returns.

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