Wednesday, October 4, 2023


June 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

How to Train Your Dragon 2, which was virtually ignored when it was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival last month, has received the equivalent of a standing ovation from critics on the eve of its domestic opening. Most seem to suggest that this is an animated film for teens and adults and may be too intense for younger children. Peter Howell of the Toronto Star notes that at the screening he attended, "the family seated next to me … spirited away their tot less than 10 minutes after the movie began." However, Howell writes, "Losing the Playskool set is a small price to pay for keeping and expanding the film’s older audience, one that can appreciate a rare sequel that strives to be more than just a cynical cash-in of refried dragon tales." Likewise, Rafer Guzmán remarks in Newsday: "Gruesome? A little. Scary? You bet. But that’s exactly what makes the Dragon films so different, and so much better, than the average children’s fare." And Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal comments, "Most sequels get made for commercial reasons, whether or not the world needs them. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a movie the world needs." Morgenstern, like virtually all of his colleagues, singles out the artistry of the animation for special praise. It is, writes Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times, "the film’s best quality." Rene Rodriquez in the Miami Herald calls the movie "one of the most beautiful animated films ever made." And Claudia Puig in USA Today considers it "a striking visual spectacle." Even the animated film’s script receives much admiration from critics, who often warn — again — that it may be too heavy for small children. Stephen Holden in the New York Times writes: "War and peace. Humans and animals. Contemplation of our bestial versus our spiritual sides. These may be too much heavy baggage to attach to a corporate product like How to Train Your Dragon 2. But such matters are there for you to ponder. … and pop mythology nowadays has a way of seeping into the culture and sending far-reaching undercurrents."