TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
SYNOPSIS: The thrilling second chapter of the epic HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON trilogy returns to the fantastical world of the heroic Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless. The inseparable duo must protect the peace – and save the future of men and dragons from the power-hungry Dragon.
REVIEW: Dreamworks Animation Studios has been delivering fun and meaningful movie experiences to people of all ages for years, and with “How to Train Your Dragon 2”, they certainly haven’t pushed the brakes. From the moment that the movie opens, the viewer is treated to a visually breathtaking film that grapples your attention and doesn’t let it go for the entire duration. The village of Berk is a colorful and magical place, inhabited by a blend of hardy Vikings and fantastical dragons, and a beautiful setting for this beautiful movie.
The film begins with a brief recap of how Berk became this haven for dragons and riders after the events of the first movie, and the action begins without skipping a beat. The cast of part one, Berk’s famous young dragon riders, have grown up in the five years since their first adventure, and this is amusingly visible through height changes and the addition of facial hair on the of the young men. Jay Baruchel reprises his role as the hero Hiccup, and the young protagonist has truly come into his own in five years. Hiccup has grown into becoming his own man, following his own dreams and moral code, and Baruchel does a great job of portraying his character’s evolution from scrawny nervous boy to dragon master. The relationship between Hiccup and his dragon Toothless is much like the relationship between a boy and his dog, and Toothless even reminds me of my own dog Maggie, although much more deadly. Watching the love and dynamics between these two characters is heartwarming to say the least, and I’ll be darned if Dreamworks isn’t trying to get every Grinch’s heart to grow three sizes.
A set of new cast members joins the film, with Djimon Hounsou (Constantine) playing the story’s menacing main villain Drago Bloodfist, and Cate Blanchett playing an amazing role as Hiccup’s mother. The interactions between Blanchett’s character and Gerard Butler’s character Stoick are as heartwarming as the rest of the film, and add a new layer of emotion to this series. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that Hiccup’s parents help to drive the movie’s main theme: growth into adulthood. The first “How to Train Your Dragon” was about Hiccup in his rebellious teen years, trying to find his passion and his talent that was different from the rest of his people. In the sequel, Hiccup being 20 years old now has to forge his own way in life and figure out what kind of man he wants to be. Does he want to live in his father’s shadow and lead his Viking people, or does he want to live with dragons and spend his days in the clouds where he actually feels at home. The audience is taken along through Hiccup’s personal journey at each turn, and the conclusion will have the whole theatre feeling as though they themselves went through that same journey, regardless of age.
Not many movies made for kids truly move me emotionally, but “How to Train your Dragon 2” gave me a pleasant surprise. Though I will never say that I was close to tears, this film awoke in me a feeling of wonder and emotion that culminated in a fantastic movie experience. Whether or not you have children of your own, you have to see this movie. It is well worth it.
By Joshua Tree
MOVIE REVIEWS >>>