“How to Train Your Dragon 2” follows the familiar formula of successful sequels: it’s flashier and busier than the original but still maintains the heart and charm that made the first one a hit.
Based on the book series by Cressida Cowell, “Dragon 2” takes place five years after the events of the previous film. The Viking village of Berk has taken its once hated enemies — the dragons — and turned them into favored pets. As an example of the “flashier and busier” business I referred to earlier, the film opens with a dizzying sequence of man-and-dragon playing a game that’s like quidditch with sheep.
The hero of our story — the oddly named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) — isn’t interested in games. He’s busy mapping the unexplored world beyond his village with the help of his dragon Toothless. Hiccup’s father, Chief Stoick (Gerard Butler), wants Hiccup to get his head out of the clouds and prepare to take over as chieftain. Hiccup isn’t sure he wants to travel down that career path.
While out exploring, Hiccup and girlfriend Astra (America Ferrera) have a run-in with a dragon trapper named Eret (Kit Harington). Drago is collecting dragons for an evil madman named Drago (Djimon Hounsou), who plans to collect a dragon army with which he can take over the world.
Against his father’s wishes, Hiccup goes to confront Drago and petition for peace. But before he can find Drago, Hiccup is captured by Valka (Cate Blanchett) a mystery woman who has been protecting and collecting dragons in her secret sanctuary.
It wouldn’t be much of a movie if Hiccup were successful in negotiations so it all comes to a climax in a war of the dragons.
Returning as writer/director to the project is Dean DeBlois, who once again has done a solid job of combining quality animation with comfortable characters and an interesting plot. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” features bright, colorful and at times beautiful animation. Scenes of the dragons playing, fighting or just soaring through the clouds are very well done. The many dragon designs are whimsical.
The film also has heart, as Hiccup is forced to deal with a variety of family issues in addition to the threat of Drago. But hey, no one cares what an old man thinks about animated features — let’s hear from the target audience:
How To Train Your Dragon 2
By Guest Reviewer Emma Scally, age 10 (on Sunday)
The movie “How to Train Your Dragon 2” was better than the original. To me the first movie was mostly action while the sequel had more emotion and a better story.
Even though I liked this movie, I still feel like there was something missing in the story and I hope they continue the series so we can follow the characters further. If you like movies where you thought characters had died but are found, then you should see this movie.
If I had to rate it, I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars.