Red Series

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

IWSG and Movie Love: How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Lessons Learned

I am excited to be apart of IWSG created by Alex Cavanaugh to bring insecure writers and co. together. Now I'm doing both IWSG and Movie Love today and hope you enjoy my post and maybe learn a little something. In a fun way of course.

Movie Love

On Saturday August 2, 2014 I went to see How To Train Your Dragon 2 at Palace Cineplex. It was a 2:40pm showing and I was pumped after missing seeing it in July because of various mishaps. But it returned to Jamaica for the early August weekend and no way was I missing it. Dreamworks comes right after Pixar (and Disney too after leaving the animated movie slump behind) in my book when it comes to amazing animated movies and I was determined to watch it this time. The first movie was amazing and I had great expectations for this one. Hiccup has grown into a smart and yes handsome young man. Strong in stature but still awkward at heart he and Astrid are closer than ever and the rest of the dragon riders from the first movie have matured as well. I truly believe the first fifty minutes of the movie was perfect. Both in story and visuals. 3D only helped enhance what was already there. But this movie like the first had a dark undertone. While on Berk dragons are now plentiful and allies, elsewhere there are still considered dangerous beasts. Various topics are covered in this movie including animal trapping and underlying slavery with main villain Drago Blood Fist willing to brand and terrify others to do his dirty work in creating a dragon army. Some of the best moments include the reuniting of Hiccup with his mother who now lives a new life but never forgot the boy she left behind. Touching and visually stunning this part you will be taken in. This movie has loads of heart and twists and turns that will keep you watching until the end. Sadly there is a falling point. After the first fifty minutes or so the rest of the movie is rushed to it's conclusion that could have been better brought about with an additional fifteen to twenty minutes more added to the movie time. This doesn't make this movie not great but I do believe the first one did a better job in pacing and character building. A must see for fans of the franchise and a perfect movie for newbies.


While I still am in computer limbo I do my best to pop in. Nothing short of a heart attack could make me miss IWSG in August. Anyway I want to discuss lessons I have learned from watching How to Train Your Dragon 2.

1. Pacing is essential. I truly believe that if another twenty minutes were added or some edits were done to parts in the first fifty minutes to add time to later sections that this movie would be perfect. While nearly the first hour was practically flawless the last half hour/forty minutes or so was rushed including the big tragedy which went by so fast that if you blinked you would miss it. Yes it was sudden but damn there's sudden and sudden.

2. Drago was poorly characterized and that took away from his role. While I think a lot of times story is king sometimes character is a close second or trumps it. Drago had so much potential but he was one of the least developed villains I have seen in a while. Especially in a quality movie. I truly believe he should have gotten at least two flashbacks of his own. One showing how he got his cloak and another of his childhood. I truly believe that and a few other changes would have helped. In the end he was still a striking villain but more like a match going against the wind instead of the inferno he should have been.

3. Never be so seduced by the greatness of your story that you miss the faults. DreamWorks has a positive streak when it comes to movies but I think part of the reason Pixar often beats them in the animated movie business because Pixar will go to greater lengths to ensure their movies are top notch. Pixar isn't releasing a movie this year because they don't feel that they're ready. DreamWorks Animation however are determined to keep up a three movie a year momentum and I'm not sure if that is necessarily a good thing. More effort on this movie might have caught the few bugs and while this is still an amazing movie. It's one I wouldn't see twice because the bad points disappoint me a lot and I would still watch it's prequel a hundred times even now.

4. Do your best. No matter my criticism I still believe DreamWorks Animated went all out to create an amazing movie. I have no regrets seeing it and while I learned not to seduced into missing faults I saw a lot of beauty in this film in both the visual and story territory. This movie was amazing and I learned that doing your best is the greatest reward no matter how great or badly you end up.

So what have you guys learned? I'm off to go see Lucy and hope to get thoughts from you all when this post goes live Wednesday (Yup I wrote this Tuesday, told I'll be ready no matter what).


  1. Agree about Drago. His character was poorly defined. He didn't have much purpose. We can learn so much about what doesn't work as well as from what does work.

  2. Sounds like you took away a lot of valuable lessons and learned a lot! I didn't see How to Train Your Dragon, so I can't really comment on that. But what you've written above is sound advice!!

  3. The second hasn't done as well as the first, so maybe they will learn in time for the third film.

  4. Soooo I watched the movie last weekend and really enjoyed it. They've definitely scaled up the world which is to be expected in any sequel like this. I also watched Guardians of the Galaxy and LOVED it. Fun and refreshing from the typical hero/Marvel Comic movies these past few years.

  5. One of my boys was talking about the second in a film series he had just watched and how disappointed he was with it. I think that a large number of the second installments dip, and then the third bounces back as good as the first, no idea why though! x

  6. I loved HTTYD2, but I can also digest your criticisms here. They are well thought out.

  7. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is probably the most delightful animated franchise ever beside ICE AGE!

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