How To Train Your Dragon 2 Review

How To Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train your Dragon was the first film I ever took my daughter to see. At the end, she walked down to the front of the cinema and performed an impromptu dance routine to the soundtrack of the closing credits.

That was four years ago now, and DreamWorks’ follow-up has assumed its original audience has grown with it. So whilst the cute dragons and fantastic animated flight sequences remain, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is that little bit more grown up.

And when you consider that my eight year old girl is now far too sophisticated to be seen actually enjoying films, this makes sense.

That didn’t stop her little brother providing a unique visual and vocal companion to the live action, which I believe is to be made available in the forthcoming DVD extras.

The remote Viking island of Berk is at peace, its human and dragon inhabitants now existing in symbiotic harmony, working and playing a quidditch inspired game involving the capturing of catapulted sheep.

When not working in the island forge, our hero Hiccup prefers to spend his spare time exploring and mapping the uncharted territories around Berk with his faithful dragon steed, Toothless.

Stoick, his aging father and island chieftain, has identified him as his successor. Hiccup, a Viking Prince Hal, is uncomfortable with the responsibility that leadership brings and is reluctant to accept his fate. He confides his insecurities in his friend Astrid.

On the horizon conflict awaits. During one of their voyages of discovery, Astrid’s companion is captured by a bounty hunter, Eret, who it transpires is kidnapping dragons for an overlord. Drago is a one-time elder of Berk now banished and thus not entirely grudge free.

Drago is assembling a giant army of dragons with intention to attack and seize his former homeland. Stoick declares that Berk must go into battle to defend against the aggressor’s forces.

Hiccup would sooner resolve the conflict through diplomacy and travels to meet Drago to negotiate, against his father’s wishes.

In essence this sequel has more than a passing resemblance to The Empire Strikes Back in its plot and darker tone as compared to their respective predecessors.

A sinister warlord preparing a huge fighting force, a small and somewhat peaceful nation forced to defend itself against said aggression.

Hiccup, a young man blessed with other-worldly gifts, has to balance his want for a peaceful existence against the need to defend his home. He also has to contend with a startling revelation regarding his family.

The obvious conclusion that this is pretty formulaic stuff still doesn’t stop How to Train your Dragon 2 from being a gripping and thoroughly enjoyable movie.

The 3D, animated, action scenes are at times breath-taking that had my son and more than a few others enthusiastically swatting dragons away as they flew towards us. And the landscapes the action is set against are beautifully realised.

It’s also a story with a heart, most notably in the touching relationship between Hiccup and Toothless; a man and his pet companion, each with their own matching artificial limb.

All of which means How to Train Your Dragon 2 will undoubtedly score a direct hit with parents who’ve got an eye on Summer Holiday activities and box office bean counters alike.

Just don’t expect the cool kids to make a big song and dance about it.

Frank Gardiner

Leave A Comment

Dates ‘n stuff

July 2014