It is a bit of a shame that I only saw the first "How to Train Your Dragon", within the last year. I had heard rave reviews, and I just had not had the opportunity to see it. A malady that a friend was able to cure with a lent Blu-ray. Sadly, this meant that I was unable to see it on the big screen in the much-lauded 3D (which may have been lauded by the same friend that lent me the Blu-ray).
Suffice to say, seeing the original really piqued my interest in the sequel.
To say I went into the sequel with high expectations, would be an understatement. I went in expecting the second-coming of movie gold. I was expecting this movie to leave me floored, glued to my seat, and just completely enraptured by what was passing before me on the screen.
To put it bluntly, this movie surpassed my every expectation.
To start off, the creature design, and by extension the character design is superb. Not once did I find myself wondering which dragon was which. Every dragon and every character was unique, and considering the sheer numbers of dragons, this is no small feat. The characters are fun, quirky, and actually genuinely likable, which is also an odd thing. Hell, like "Despicable Me 2" before it, this movie actually managed to give me a role where I didn't absolutely loathe Kristen Wiig! That, is borderline miraculous.
Unlike "The Edge of Tomorrow", from what I saw, this movie had an internally consistent narrative. At no point did I find myself thinking "That shouldn't work like that" or "How the hell does that make any sense". This movie set its rules, and then carried through with them, in a way that is consistent and easily followed by the audience. This made the movie's flow feel natural, and at no point does it feel like the movie is either dragging, or pandering to the audience. It all feels practically perfect.
For the first time in a long time, I actually decided to watch a movie in 3D. For those that know me well, they know one of the reasons that I avoid 3D movies, is that they end up giving me splitting headaches. However, after the effusive praise laid at the feet of the previous film's 3D, I owed it to myself to see it in 3D, so armed with excessive caffeine, I braved the theater. The 3D was well done, and for a change, felt like it actually fit. It wasn't an endless stream of sight gags, and things being needlessly sent flying at the audience. The 3D gave the movie a lot of extra depth, and like everything else about this film, it actually felt naturally.
The movie was happy, and at times depressingly sad. It was beautiful beyond words, and offered up a surprising amount of action. If at the end of this movie, you didn't fight back a tear or two, and didn't have your love of movies reaffirmed, you... well you are soulless.
Frankly, the only problem I had with the movie, is that it ended. This film provided everything I could have hoped for, and more. It was so perfect, it is earning a very rare distinction from me.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the first movie, this movie should far exceed your expectations. And if you are looking for a movie to watch with the kids this weekend, I can not recommend this movie enough. It is one of the best films I have seen in the theater in a long time.
IS IT THEATER WORTHY: This is an unequivocal YES! If for no other reason than for the 3D. This movie is the reason I go to see movies. It is breath-taking.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I can not heap enough praise on this movie. It was one of the most perfectly executed films I have seen all year. The amount of feeling piled into this movie, should bring tears of sadness, and tears of joy to your eye. From the beginning, to the end, this is a roller coaster of emotions, that I would encourage you to share with anyone and everyone. Which is why, for I believe only the third time ever I give this film....
FINAL SCORE: 10 out of 10.