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How To Train Your Dragon 2 - Elf M. Sternberg
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elfs
How To Train Your Dragon 2
Kouryou-chan and I went out last night to go see How To Train Your Dragon 2. I want to rave about it, but I can't. The art is gorgeous, the voice characterizations solid, the characters themselves are well thought-out and actually have some depth to them, to the point that they make many Disney characters even more flat and lifeless than usual. The terrible lighting bugs that were all throughout Frozen aren't happening here. All the female characters have distinctively different faces. It's not a musical, so if you can't stand musicals where people randomly break out into song like Frozen or Tangled, you'll appreciate that. It effectively pulls no punches, either; the two main protagonists effectively maimed and amputated each other's body parts (one leg below the knee; one tail-wing-stabilizer-thing) in their first meeting, and this film makes it more explicit that that's what happened.

Great art, great characters, great acting... so.... ?

The story tries to do too much. It's too big a story to fit into just 102 minutes. There's way too much going on, and the whiplash one would feel from all the emotional spots this film is trying to hit don't really have the impact they should. Even the moments when the film slows down don't last long enough, and while it's obvious what the script is trying to accomplish, it doesn't give the camera or dialog enough time to fully develop.

I know that it's hard in this day and age to imagine anyone wanting to sit through more movie, to spend all their evening in the seats. Theaters want to cycle people through fast, and the young kids who want to see How To Train Your Dragon 2 may not be able to sit still for that long. But the compromise of compressing the action down and down to the barest bones, to have every moment flit past so fast the audience has trouble engaging, isn't going to give you a hit, or a fan base, or box office.

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