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June 13th, 2014

Movie Review - How To Train Your Dragon 2

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T. J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington, Kieron Elliott, Randy Thom, and more.

Directed by: Dean DeBlois Written by: Dean DeBlois Based on the "How To Train Your Dragon" book series by: Cressida Cowell Music by: John Powell

Premise: Five years after the village of Berk embraced having dragons as friends, the village stands transformed by this new era of peace. Hiccup, however, is still trying to figure out who he is and what he wants, especially after his father approaches him about declaring to the village the fact Hiccup will become their chief in future and begin his training. But Hiccup pushes his concerns aside when he and Astrid come across a band of men trying to capture dragons for Drago, who is building a vast dragon army. They also tell Hiccup he's not the first dragon rider they've met - making him realize there are more than those of Berk out there. (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Jay Baruchel is delightful as he reprises his role as the peace and dragon loving Hiccup. Wit and snark are served with fun aplomb by Kristen Wiig, Christophjer Mintz-Plasse, T. J. Miller, and Jonah Hill. Gerard Butler will make you cry as he tries to woo back the person he'd thought lost to him forever.

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Dreamworks continues to show their ever expanding skills in the animation field. With their efforts and the added 3D functionality, everything had texture, including human skin. The vibrant colors of the dragons were as dazzling as crystals during several scenes.

Of particular beauty and cool effect were the scenes where Hiccup encounters the masked dragon rider and when he sees the protected dragon area. On the human side, the attention to detail on the ships and other common objects was quite impressive and even helped set the mood in a couple of locations.

Great care was taken in the formation of facial expressions, as in several spots that is solely what the audience has to go on. They were all easy to read and did much to elevate the watcher's emotional involvement.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I've not read the series the movie is based on, though my nieces insist much was changed. But for those only acquainted with the DreamWorks version, I think you'll be quite happy with this new installment.

Five years have passed from the time of the original film and all the kids have grown to different extents. The boys have definitely started noticing the girls and vice versa. It's background and comedic material, though in other ways it does permeate one branch of the main plot.

There are several very moving scenes, some of which will grab you unexpectedly. So, if movies make you cry, make sure to come prepared for this one.

Lots of cute or funny moments. Watching Hiccup and Toothless cavort around and play is always fun to watch. The subplot of Hiccup's Mom was nicely done. Drago though, didn't really have much depth. I would have loved to hear the tale of how exactly he got hold of his grand prize.

Conclusion: "How To Train Your Dragon 2" was a lot of fun and definitely worth watching. It will also tug at the heart strings. Beautiful animation made even more fun by the 3D.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price To See Again)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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