Well I was beyond excited that I got to FINALLY see How To Train Your Dragon 2. I admit, the only reason why I saw the first one, was because David Tennant was in it. But from the get-go of the first film, I was hooked. The stunning visuals. The epic flying scenes. The sweeping, inspiring music. And a fun not-so-cheesy story line. Especially once we met Toothless. Because…Toothless! That little dragon will steal anyone’s heart.
So I was excited this weekend to rent on Amazon the sequel. And at first, it was as I was expected and that made me a happy-panda. An older Hiccup enjoying the freedom of riding Toothless, and a delightful twist, they were exploring the world looking for another Night-Furry.
Now, THIS would have been a plot I’d be just fine with. Exploring and discovering with his dragon would have made a great sequel, and they could have made it romantic by throwing Astrid in there. And I’m sure they could have made it just as exciting as the first film without being as self-contradicting as it was.
But alas, that’s not the direction the story went with. Such a shame.
And I had no problem with the long lost mother plot-line that the trailer was kind enough to spoil for everyone. But there was a BIG problem I had about mid-way through the movie. And that was confusing and conflicting moral story-line.
The beginning of the movie, Hiccup learns there is a bad Viking trying to control ALL the dragons in the world. And of course once he tells his dad, the chief, this news the dad runs into war actions. Hiccup begs his dad to let him meet with the bad guy and talk some sense into him. He said if he could convince his dad to like dragons, he can convince anyone. And I thought: okay cool they are taking a Doctor Who type approach…what a great lesson for kids!
But then BAM!
When the bad guy refuses…it’s full on war that Hiccup assists with leading, once Toothless got in trouble. Okay, so one big thing happens that motivates Hiccup, but, spoilers! Still, with how dead-on Hiccup was about saving peace, it was a big shock even with the catalyst couldn’t justify his change of heart.
What I had a problem with this was this: First Hiccup wants peace, and then when Plan A didn’t work, he didn’t even try for a Plan B to change the bad guys mind. He basically forced the bad guy into loving dragons…or else. And so, the bad guy got the ‘or else’.
I just wish they tried a little harder for a peaceful outcome. It might not have been as “dark” as this version, but it would have taught kids a better lesson. And I don’t have kids myself, but this is in fact…a kids film.
After I felt this way about the film, I reviewed the reviews on Amazon and was surprised everyone was raving about it. Only a few one or two star reviews, and no one said anything about the conflicting morals dilemma. So I consulted my good friend Google and found I wasn’t alone in this thinking.
Here is what one reviewer on Fried Green Tomatoes said about this subject:
…but its mixed message is troubling: It begins by endorsing nonviolence, as Hiccup insists that friendship can be a more powerful motivator than force, but it ends by bludgeoning the bad guys into submission. The filmmakers pretend not to notice that their story ultimately privileges strength over reason as it requires its young hero to be not just a resourceful and brave Everyboy but a dictator, however benevolent.
Still, I would give it 3.5 stars for the visual effects…and, TOOTHLESS! That dragon deserves an Oscar!
Have YOU ever felt thrown off by what a movie was trying to teach you? How has this affected your opinion of the movie?
Did you see How To Train Your Dragon 2? What was your opinion of the film?
Share in the comments below…or else :) haha, JK, I’m no Hiccup! But seriously, comments make me smile. Just saying.