How to Train your Dragon 2 3D

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In 2010, How to Train Your Dragon delighted the cinema-going public with its first class animation, exciting narrative, snappy dialogue and loveable characters. It impressed audiences and critics alike as a thoroughly enjoyable family adventure all wrapped up in some really quite adult concepts . Therefore, it didn’t take much arm twisting to drag me along to the sequel this weekend, and I was even willing to give 3D another chance, as, you know, dragons and fire flying at your face, well it sounded pretty cool…

It’s been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave, that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe in while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons.

It was always going to be a difficult task to sustain the brilliance of the first How to Train Your Dragon. The plot, whilst exciting and thrilling, was actually a rather simple premise that centred on the unexpected bond between Hiccup and Toothless and came to a natural conclusion with a fittingly furious final battle sequence. In How to Train Your Dragon 2 everything has been cranked up exponentially. There is so much action and on such a big scale that at times it was reminiscent of the final battle scenes in Lord of the Rings. In contrast to this, there were times when the pace swung dramatically in the opposite direction, to almost a standstill, as the relationships in Hiccup’s family were explored and developed. The result was a film that felt very ‘BANG BANG BANG; whisper whisper; BANG BANG BANG’, which didn’t always work for me. In making How to Train Your Dragon 2 bigger, louder and showier, it has lost a lot of its original charm.  All that said, despite these problems, a lot of the components that made the original film great are still there; the undeniably clever and endearing characterisation of the dragons; the core relationship between Hiccup and Toothless; adult themes, about family, death and war that don’t patronise; and a vein of comedy running through the whole film.

Overall How to Train Your Dragon 2  is a commendable and respectable sequel that hasn’t been afraid to tackle big ideas and emotions. The original is by far the superior film but there is still a lot to enjoy here. Having said that the 10 year old boy I watched it with loved all the action and categorically confirmed it was ‘awesome’ and was ‘just as good as the first’. So what do I know?

(Oh before I forget, save yourself some money and don’t bother with the 3D. There is light loss, problems with picture clarity and not once did I say oooooooo at any speeding dragons or fire. Rubbish.)

 

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10 Films we couldn’t watch until the end

As film lovers, bloggers and decent human beings we always try and see a film through to its conclusion. You can’t judge a film if you haven’t seen the whole thing right? This list begs to differ. Here are some of the films that no love nor money could make us watch all the way till the end…

Worst. Film. Ever
Worst. Film. Ever.

1) The SitterThis film is a lesson in how not to make a comedy. For a comedy to be funny either you bring funny characters into a mundane situation or you bring normal characters into a funny/over the top situation. This film strings together the most ludicrous people (the kid makes bombs?!! WHAT??!!!) with the most insultingly far-fetched yet predictable of plots. I don’t know how this finished and I don’t care. Adventures in Babysitting this is not. Jonah Hill I like you but just no. No. Bad Jonah Hill. Bad.

This is how I felt 5 minutes in..
This is how I felt 5 minutes in..

2) The Double This is probably getting rather short shrift from me, and doesn’t really deserve to be on a list with some of these absolute howlers, however I can’t pretend that I saw this through all the way to the end. I didn’t even make it to half an hour. This film isn’t so much bad, it’s just been done before, a lot better. It’s boring, clichéd and Richard Gere started to get on my nerves after 10 minutes. I wondered why I had never heard of it when I spotted it on TV and now I know why… Sorry Rich, seeing you like this was too painful..

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3) The Hottie and The NottieDon’t think we really need to rehash this again but for those who haven’t had the joy of hearing us say it the first time then here it is again. This film may be the worst film I have ever seen. I spent most of the film fast-forwarding through someone saying something douchey so managed to watch the entire film in about 15 minutes. Name a group or minority; this film insulted them. All this film does is show Paris Hilton wanking herself off and we all have to watch. With a gun against my head I couldn’t say one nice thing about The Hottie and The Nottie.

The only time I was this happy to be at school was when I was drunk..
The only time I was this happy to be at school was when I was drunk..

4) High School the MusicalOk so I may not be the target market for this all singing, all dancing, corny, cliche, cheese-fest of a film, but I’m a firm believer that, when a family movie is done well it appeals to adults and kids alike (er hello most things Pixar makes!). This is so sugary, sickly, void of any tangible cynicism and difficult for an adult to digest I simply got annoyed and turned it off. I am a huge fan of musicals but this has zero integrity as a musical for all ages, and for me will always be a film for the under 10’s. I will forever be grateful, however, as it gifted us with Zac Efron. So thank you for that!

GIRL

5) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)Now, this film is probably the best film on the list. However, after spending a good 12 hours (it took a while to recover from each film) with my emotions invested into the Swedish language versions of The Millenium Trilogy, I found Fincher’s remake offered nothing more than better cinematography and a selection of questionable accents. I am not a hipster, but I feel this was a pointless remake of a perfectly acceptable Swedish film. I turned off 70 minutes in when I saw the movie was going to finish in 2018.

GRINDSTONE

6) Grindstone RoadShit. Didn’t last 15 minutes.

ANVUA

7) AnuvahoodAdam Deacon, stick to your London accent and shitty chav roles. This was one of the most embarrassing things to come out of London since Boris Johnson got stuck on a zipline. No wonder we had riots; they were probably all looking for Deacon to try and merk him. And for the cultured, ‘merk’ means to beat up, not supply him with a reliable German-made automobile.

HOSTEL3
“But mum, swimming cap or no swimming cap, I will drown if I wear this in the pool.”

8) Hostel Part IIITo be fair, Hostel was a pretty groundbreaking horror movie. However, by the third iteration of the series there was no heart and, by the looks of things, no money left. Boring, even the gore was half-arsed. I felt compelled to turn it off because I remembered I had more interesting things to do, like to watch dust float past the crack of light between my curtains.

Quebec

9) The PromotionMy girlfriend loves shitty movies, and not ‘so bad they are good’ movies. Just shitty movies. *Jumps down from high horse*. That’s why it surprised me when she was the one that suggested we turn this off. What didn’t surprise me is that she suggest we watch it in the first place…

RAVEN
Believe or not, in this picture Cusack is cradling what’s left of his career.

10) The Raven –

“Did I add this or did you add this?! Totally started watching this the other day and didn’t finish it…. well confused!! Apologies if I’m having a moment and this was me. John Cusack needs a punch in the face in this film.”

If two of us turned off this shit then what hope does it have? Just rubbish. Nothing more, nothing less.

So, what are your picks for movies you just couldn’t bring yourself finish?

Moneyball

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I have no interest in baseball. This is part due to the fact that I’m not from the US/Japan, but mainly because I invest far too much of myself into Arsenal Football Club. This, however, did not stop me finding Moneyball an absolutely charming and exuberant sports movie, which was more about the men behind the sport than about the sport itself.

Brad Pitt stars as real-world baseball coach Billy Beane, a man who went against the grain and used statistics rather than talent scouts to build his Oakland A’s team. Ignoring decades of scouting tradition, he hired a Yale graduate in economics and used a spreadsheet to end up as one of the biggest shocks in the sports’ history.  His character, expertly written but perfectly delivered, is a cheeky, charming and funny man sent entirely on his morals and ideology. With the help of Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), and some down-and-out baseball players, he proves wrong his critics and goes down in the history books.

Aaron Sorkin’s script is one of the best things about this movie. He is one of the best screenwriters at delivering entirely believable male characters. One of the stand out scenes involves a dozen scouts, Pitt and Hill, and the pace is so dynamic; the lines come thick and fast, and the tension and humour is tangible. Nevertheless, there are a number of silences in the movie that are so well timed, they create a fantastic air of reflection without being clichéd. There were even a few scenes that were so believable they felt improvised, which was actually confirmed by Christopher Tellefsen near the bottom of his interview.

There were a few aspects of this movie that I felt dragged it from being a complete triumph. Firstly, the editing was pretty terrible at points. On a number of occasions there were reaction shots in which you could see the character not facing the camera wasn’t talking, yet you could hear their voice. Also, the storyline with Beane’s daughter felt completely unnecessary. The story with the team was strong enough to appeal to a mass audience but the daughter/family scenes were the weakest in the movie. The final five minutes I found myself a little bored, but it swiftly ended and I was left smiling nonetheless!

Moneyball was a fantastic movie. It won’t be considered among the greatest ever made, but it will be one that will raise your spirits and is a great story about underdogs.