REVIEW: How to Train Your Dragon 2

15 06 2014

Stay long enough through the credits of “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and you’ll see an interesting member of the crew: Roger Deakins, on board as a visual consultant.  That name may not mean much to the casual film fan, but he’s the cinematographer responsible for the look of some of the past two decades’ most iconic films.  An 11-time Oscar nominee, Deakins has done remarkable work on films as varied as “The Shawshank Redemption,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Skyfall.”

His presence on the film signals that DreamWorks Animation is giving the franchise the kind of serious attention that ought to be paid to all their products.  “How to Train Your Dragon 2” may very well be the most gorgeous animated film I have ever seen, no doubt thanks to Deakins’ keen eye.  The film is like a ballet of the skies where humans and dragons soar through the skies with stunning aerodynamic agility.

It’s not just the flight sequences that show off DWA’s fixation on fine details.  The film has a remarkable texture, particularly in the design of the dragons themselves.  I felt like I could envision just what they would feel like if my 3D glasses weren’t an illusion and I could reach out and touch them.

In fact, I loved looking at the film so much that I often found myself lost in the visuals and not in the plot.  For whatever reason, I just felt somewhat less engaged with the proceedings than I was in the original “How to Train Your Dragon.”  The sequel is still sweet and entertaining, though, and the addition of Cate Blanchett to the cast certainly doesn’t hurt.  But it didn’t capture my imagination in the same way, perhaps because it seemed more interested on action sequences and effects and less focused on characters.  B2halfstars

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