How to Train Your Dragon 2

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How to Train Your Dragon 2

When we last saw Hiccup (the voice of Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless, they’d brought together dragons and Vikings to live in harmony on the rocky island of Berk. Five years later and they’re all one big happy family – but while Hiccup’s father (and island Chief) Stoick (Gerard Butler) is still running the show and Hiccup’s girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera) is winning at the island’s new top pastime – dragon racing – Hiccup is off exploring and mapping uncharted islands. Or maybe he’s running away from his destiny to replace his father, as that kind of power seems like the furthest thing from his mind. But when on one of his trips he discovers a crew of dragon trappers, he soon discovers that there’s someone out there actively collecting dragons – and his intentions are not good.
It was the combination of heartfelt emotions and stunning flying sequences that made the first Dragon film such a big hit, so it’s hardly a shock twist to reveal that Hiccup’s long-lost mother Valka (Cate Blanchett) makes an appearance and helps to get the tears flowing. But while the first film had a well-crafted story to make sure all the elements worked together as one, this feels a little lop-sided – more like a string of loosely connected events rather than one big whole.
Thematically things are a little wobbly too, as dragons are revealed to be extremely dangerous – even fatal – in the wrong hands, which does tend to suggest that keeping them as pets could have some drawbacks for the unwary. But the strengths of the first film are still here as well: the animation is excellent, the flying scenes are exhilarating (especially in 3D), the voice cast is top-notch – Blanchett is especially good as a character going through a whole range of emotions – and if the story has a few bumps here and there, it’s never quite enough to derail the whole endeavour.
Hiccup and Toothless are such a fun duo it’d be a shame to have to wait another five years for their next outing.
Written by Anthony Morris