…but it wasn’t.
It bugs me a lot that the sequel of the hit animation film by Dreamworks studio didn’t end up brilliant. “How To Train Your Dragon” is an amazing film, and in my opinion, the best work from Dreamworks. The characters and story line are brilliantly designed and carried out. It makes you laugh and cry at the same time, and you would crave for more when the credit rolls. The sequel that released this summer was certainly one of the most anticipated film this year, but something isn’t right about this new story.
The film introduced two new characters, both actually very anticipating and cool. Voiced by huge stars Cate Blanchett and Kit Harrington, they are Valka (Hiccup’s mum) and Eret, the leader of dragon trappers. Wait, Hiccup’s mum is alive?! I know, one of the tricks storytellers love is bringing back a character we assumed dead or gone. Nicely done, Dreamworks. She even has a stylish entrance: wearing a mysterious mask, standing on the back of a dragon, soaring on sky and looking like a dragon expert.
With a character like that I was certainly hoping to see something extraordinary about her, but sadly there wasn’t any. She ended up being a girl, yes, a girl who needs men’s attention, and was unable to do anything to solve the crisis.She was only watching anxiously at the side, no opinions given, no power unleashed, nothing.
Even in the end when the Alpha dragon was being controlled by bad guy Drago to destroy Berk, she didn’t step forward to do something. Wasn’t she the dragon expert? And she had been living with an Alpha for twenty freaking years! From how I see it, Valka is the only character qualified enough to fight Drago, but the story writer didn’t give her the spotlight. The battle could have been much more epic with two Alpha commanders challenging each other. Is this another failed attempt to build a strong female character in an action film, as observed and criticized by Tasha Robinson in her article? I hope we can see something better next time.
Similar situation goes to Eret, who has the sexiest voice and abs, but sadly, lack of personality. A man leading a group of dragon trappers turned out being ‘bullied’ and taken away by some teenagers, and in the end decided to just be cool about it and blend in. He has so little function to contribute to the story until I doubted his existence. You can’t just put in some interesting characters and make them do nothing. The most exciting thing to watch in a film is how characters affect the story, taking account of their own personalities, motives and background stories. The story writers have actually managed to design some cool new elements but they didn’t know what to do with them. What a drag.
Another thing missing in this sequel is the buildup. I have to purposely point this out because the first film has done an amazing job on this. Remember when Hiccup first met Toothless? He was mysterious, formidable, and fearless. But then something interesting and surprising about it was slowly revealed in the story. It was the buildup of its personality and his friendship with Hiccup, which played an important part in contributing to the climax of the story. The new story in this sequel, however, did not engage the audience as good as the first film. Toothless has lost his charm a little by being too cute, missing his impregnable characteristic and giving the impression of vulnerability. It did not echo to what Toothless has aggressively become in the end.
Despite all the imperfections I’ve pointed out, I still have to give credits to the incredible graphics, characters design and voice acting. Overall, it’s a very enjoyable film, and I recommend it unhesitantly.