Roasting the Reptiles: A Breakdown of HTTYD 2

Mort 08
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Introduction

A lot of things can happen in one year, as I learned in 2014. You can go off to college, your worldview can change, a movie that wasnít even on your radar at the start of the year can become one of your favorite films, and the movie you were looking forward to the most can become a movie that fills you with disgust whenever you type out its title.

How to Train Your Dragon 2, or HTTYD 2 as I shall henceforth refer to it, was pretty much at the top of my list for movies I wanted to see in 2014. I adored the original film, and I still do. Itís beautiful to look at, has memorable scenes and characters, a gorgeous score and is one of the better things to come out of DreamWorks Animation recently. Realizing the success on their hands, DreamWorks quickly put a sequel into production. And from the beginning, they were building this sucker up big. It was going to be epic, they said. The established world was going to be opened up and explored. It would do for the first HTTYD what The Empire Strikes Back did for A New Hope. Hell, it was so damn big that they had to push it back a year! It was gonna be just that awesome!

I was young(er), naive(r), and just getting started in the world of fandom when the original movie came out. So needless to say, I ate this shit up and begged for seconds. I squealed about it like an idiot on the FF.net forums. I shared every scrap of information that I could find. I even put forth several plot theories, but weíll get to that later. When the trailers came out, I was still hooked. Holy crap more flying! Holy crap itís Hiccupís mom! Holy crap a big battle! HOLY CRAP!

So when the movie came out, I drove myself down to the theater all by my legally adult self, bought my ticket and my popcorn, sat down and prepared for the ride. And what did I think?

I liked it well enough. It wasnít better than the first movie like some people were saying, but I wasnít expecting it to be. I went home pleased.

And then, as the weeks passed, I began to think more about it. The very good movie slowly became just okay. And as I continued to think about it while seeing other movies, I finally grasped the realization that had been eluding me: HTTYD 2 is a polished turd of a film.

Itís a waste of potential. Itís bland to look at. Itís unfunny. Itís filled with useless, unlikeable and unnecessary characters. Itís unsubtle in its emotional manipulation. Its plot is riddled with more holes than Swiss cheese. Its pacing is terrible. It ignores the important conflicts of the story in favor of uninteresting ones. It borders on uncomfortably racist at a few points. And oh my god, is it pretentious. I have never seen an animated movie with its head so far up its own ass in terms of moralizing. If it was any more preachy, it wouldíve been a goddamn Captain Planet episode. There are movies I want to see erased from existence that I would rather watch than this thing. Itís that bad.

And yet, I havenít seen a whole lot of people criticizing it. Thereís no anti HTTYD group like thereís an anti Frozen group, even though I find this movie just as problematic as Frozen if not more so. In fact, the reason Iím making this series is because HTTYD 2 just won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature. Which should have gone to any of the other nominees, but I digress. Bottom line, Iím tired of this movie not getting ripped to shreds like it deserves to be. So Iím going to do the shredding by myself.

Iím expecting this to be a 6-part look at the film, each part covering 15 minutes of film time. In order for me to best articulate what I hate about this movie, I want to go through it on a blow-by-blow level. Point out every plot hole, every stupid line, every moment that made me want to wake up Smaug and sic him on these worthless fuckers. There will be flames, Iím sure. Iíve gotten criticized for my views on this movie before. You canít scare me. This is a rant thatís been long overdue.

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