How to Train Your Dragon 2 – Movie Review
Director: Dean DeBlois
Writers: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell (“How to Train Your Dragon” book series)
Stars: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Housou, Kit Harington
3D Computer-Animated Action Fantasy Film
It’s been five years since the events of How to Train Your Dragon, and life for the Vikings of Berk is very different. Dragons have been integrated into every aspect of their lives, and both Vikings and dragons are enjoying the change.
Hiccup and his friends have all grown up a little, and they (and everyone else in Berk, too) has a dragon to ride. Hiccup is openly acknowledged as an expert in dragon handling, and everyone comes to him with dragon questions big and small. He’s an atypical Viking, looking for diplomatic solutions rather than conflict–he’s trying to apply the lesson learned in the first movie to the rest of his life.
But Hiccup’s father, Stoick, the chief of the Vikings, has other plans. He wants Hiccup to take on other responsibilities, to go to work in the family business (as it were). But Hiccup isn’t sure he’s ready, or what he wants to do with his life. He finds solace in flying.
At only five years older, Hiccup and company just don’t seem mature enough to be adding major responsibilities. They’re still acting fairly young, not nearly ready to take over from the older generation, who are spry enough.
Missed the First???
Rent INSTANTLY here
How to Train Your Dragon 2 does a great job showing what being able to travel dragon-back has done for the Vikings of Berk. The world is now a bigger place, growing the focus of the film to more than just Berk, and adding a bunch of characters. And a bunch of dragons. Lots of dragons. Tons of dragons.
Hiccup and the relationship he has with his dragon Toothless is the heart of this movie, just like the first one, and their antics together are just as adorable. When they go off together and fly simply for the joy of flying, doing ever more complex maneuvers, the movie had a “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”-vibe that was infectious.
The actors (voices) are top-notch. Most especially Jay Baruchel, who absolutely brings Hiccup to life. Call-outs also to Gerard Butler as Stoick, Cate Blanchett as Valka, and Kit Harington as Eret.
Some of the new characters weren’t well fleshed-out, and the movie didn’t have the time to develop them properly–there were just too many characters for that to happen in 102 minutes. Their backstories and motivations end up being very simplistic, or just not really making sense.
Much of the plot was a bit contrived, enough so that I was pulled out of the movie by some of what was happening, instead of being emotionally effected by it. Too, it suffers from middle-movie-itis, needing to get from point A (the end of the first movie) to point B (the beginning of the announced third movie), without a logical, well-executed plot.
But I’m not the target audience for this one. The theater full of kids that I saw the movie in absolutely loved it. If you’re interested in this one, bring a child with you–then even if you don’t love the movie, you’ll have their joy to make it worthwhile.
Written by Elektra Hammond