How to Train Your Dragon 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. From start to finish, the flick looked great.
Sharpness seemed immaculate. Not a single slightly soft shot emerged in this tight, precise image.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I witnessed no edge haloes or artifacts. Print flaws also failed to appear.
Given the movie’s frozen environments, blues dominated its palette. These didn’t overwhelm, though, and various elements like the dragons allowed for some hues to pop. These colors came across well.
Blacks came across as dark and dense, while shadows appeared smooth and clear. I felt totally satisfied with this terrific presentation.
Almost as good, the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack also worked very well. With all the movie’s action, the mix gave us many active moments and lots of impressive sequences.
Flying elements zoomed around the room, and other components – like battle material – made strong use of the various channels. These all combined to form a well-integrated soundscape.
Audio quality was top-notch. Speech appeared distinctive and concise, without edginess or other issues.
Music seemed robust and rich, while effects gave us clean, accurate information; bass response also appeared deep and taut. Everything here worked well to create an “A-“ soundtrack.
This package includes both 2D and 3D versions of Train 2. The picture comments above reflect the 2D edition – how does the 3D compare?
In terms of visual quality, the pair seem virtually identical. I think the 3D rendition comes across with similar sharpness, blacks, colors and everything else.
As for the stereo imaging, the 3D Train 2 adds a lot of punch. With so many flying elements, we get tons of information that zooms around and brings out a great deal of involvement and dimensional activity.
More subtle moments fare well, too, as bits like snow manage to flutter out of the screen well. A few fun pop-out components appear as well, but mainly it’s the sublime sense of depth and movement that make the 3D version the best way to watch the film.
As we shift to extras, we start with an audio commentary from head of character animation Simon Otto, producer Bonnie Arnold, director Dean DeBlois, and production designer Pierre-Olivier Vincent. All of them sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, animation and visual design, music, cast and performances, and connected domains.
Expect a fairly good chat here. While nothing about the commentary soars, it manages to offer a reasonably broad view of the production, so it turns into a worthwhile listen.
A new short called Dawn of the Dragon Racers goes for 26 minutes, 37 seconds and provides another adventure with Hiccup and pals. It mixes movie actors like Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera with the cast from the Dragons TV show. “Racers” delivers decent entertainment value.
With Fishlegs’ Dragon Stats, we find an interactive piece that collects a mix of short clips. In these, “Fishlegs” tells us facts about dragons. It seems like a fun little bonus – and the presence of a “Play All” option makes it more user-friendly.
Something similar arrives via Drago’s War Machines. Complete with narration by “Fishlegs”, we get info about various weapons seen in the movie. Like “Stats”, “Machines” offers a nice collection of details.
Next comes a featurette called Berk’s Dragon World. It fills four minutes, 19 seconds and presents Hiccup’s tour of Berk to show how the realm changed since the first film. Though nothing special, it becomes a good little overview.
In the same vein as “Stats” and “Machines”, Hiccup’s Inventions in Flight provides another interactive gallery of clips that examine the character’s innovations. It also brings us a fine look at the details.
A documentary called Where No One Goes: The Making of How to Train Your Dragon 2 runs 54 minutes, 40 seconds. The program includes notes from DeBlois, Arnold, Vincent, Otto, supervising sound designer Randy Thom, head of story Tom Owens, author Cressida Cowell, visual effects supervisor Dave Walvoord, and actors America Ferrera, Gerard Butler, Jay Baruchel, TJ Miller and Cate Blanchett.
“Goes” starts with the film’s announcement, the composition of the script and a research trip. From there we learn about visual design, aspects of the creation/execution of the dragons, set design, characters, cast and performances, animation, and music. Though a little scattershot at times, “Goes” puts out a fair amount of useful material, so it turns into a winning show much of the time.
Including introductions from DeBlois, four Deleted Scenes fill a total of 12 minutes. These expand some character areas and add a little intrigue, though none of them stand out as crucial.
A Gallery offers 34 stills. These display concept art and give us a nice collection of images.
The disc opens with ads for Penguins of Madagascar, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and Book of Life.
We also get trailers for Train 2, Turbo, The Croods, Jingle All the Way 2, DreamWorks’ Dragons, and the Rise of Berk game. Finally, World of DreamWorks Animation adds more promo material.
A third disc provides a DVD copy of Train 2. It includes “Dragon Stats”, the gallery, the trailer and promos but lacks the other Blu-ray extras.
Though I didn’t love the first film, it looks like a classic compared to the bland How to Train Your Dragon 2. Little more than a by-the-numbers reworking of the original’s themes, the sequel lacks charm or excitement. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio along with a pretty good set of supplements. Train 2 doesn’t even live up to my modest expectations, though the 3D version adds some fun.
To rate this film visit the prior review of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2