How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Dreamworks Animation)
Starring (voices of) 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, Philip McGrade, Andrew Ableson, Gideon Emery.
Written by Dean DeBlois, based on the books series by Cressida Cowell.
Directed by Dean DeBlois.
I loved 2010’s How To Train Your Dragon. It was fun, funny, touching and had some of the best computer-generated animation this side of Pixar. As sequels go, it’s easy to be disappointed when the first in the series is such a big, surprise hit. How To Train Your Dragon 2 is, in many ways just as good as the original – and perhaps too good.
Jay Baruchel returns to voice Hiccup, the nerdy kid who befriended a swift dragon named Toothless in the original film. It’s 5 years later, and Hiccup is getting a lot of pressure from his dad Stoick (Gerrard Butler) to take over ruling their Viking village of Berk. Hiccup is more interested in exploring the world on the back of Toothless, and feels less that adequate. Hiccup soon discovers a warlord named Drago (Djimon Hounsou) is planning to capture all the dragons and take over their village. At the same time, (spoiler alert, in case you didn’t see the latest HTTYD2 trailer) Hiccup also discovers a dragon protector named Valka (Cate Blanchett) – who happens to be his long, lost mother. Soon, the family is back together, just in time to take on Drago and his flying dragon army.
Hiccup must brave Drago’s enchantment of a huge alpha dragon to overcome utter destruction of his family, his village and Toothless.
HTTYD2 has all the charm and incredible visual gratification of the first movie – and more. The “more” might be a little too much more, due to the inclusion of darker themes, tragedy, and unexplained family neglect. One scene in particular is very tender – when Stoick (who might be understandably upset that his wife faked her death for 20 years to become a dragon refuge activist) forgives Valka and welcomes her back with open arms. Don’t get me wrong; such forgiveness is a beautiful thing, but it leaves a lot of baggage unaccounted for.
Even so, HTTYD2 is a very good film that most adults will enjoy. The darker and more tragic stuff might be a little tough for kids who thought they were seeing a cute dragon cartoon.