How to Train Your Dragon 2: Rated “PG” (1 hour and 45 minutes)
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Kit Harington, Cate Blanchett, Djimon Honsou
Directed by: Dean DeBlois
So, it’s been some five years since Hiccup and Toothless (the young Viking lad and son of the Chief and his dragon — from the first film), were able to successfully unite the both the dragons and Vikings on the island of Berk. Now, the two races live in harmony. Meanwhile Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang, are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport — wherein they toss sheep around like Quidditch balls, much to the delight of the populace of Berk). Hiccup and Toothless are an inseparable pair who journey through the skies, soaring high, and charting unmapped territories and exploring new lands within the world. One of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious, masked Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the newfound peace between the races. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons.
Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, and based on the book by Cressida Cowell, the action adventure tells the story of Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn’t quite fit in with either his tribe’s longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers, nor his father’s idea of what the son of a Chief should be. As Hiccup’s world is turned upside down upon his fantastic discovery of not only a dragon rider who challenges what he and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view. Plus there is a new threat to the peace, an old foeman of the tribe that seeks to not only challenge Hiccup’s father for leadership, wants to kill off all the dragons as well.
It really isn’t necessary to have seen the first film to follow what is going on here (we didn’t see the original film, nor have we read any of Cowell’s books), as the story is truly complete unto itself. Still, having see this tale (especially the amazing computer animation), we do now want to go back and check out what came before. The film is enjoyable for both adults and children, although we feel that some of the themes might be over the heads of some of the much younger members of the intended audience.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.