My family attended an advanced press screening of the film to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.
Four years ago, DreamWorks studio released “How To Train Your Dragon“, and well I didn’t really notice. Then our neighbor loaned us a copy of their DVD for the kids to watch, and they fell in love with Hiccup and Toothless. I still wasn’t really a fan, until the second or third viewing. Now, it’s often a regular pick on our Friday family movie nights, and we were all excited to see Hiccup’s latest adventures in “How To Train Your Dragon 2”.
A lot has changed in the Viking village of Berk since we last saw Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless. Dragons are no longer hunted here, instead they are treated more like pets. Although, I don’t ride my dogs in races that involve using sheep to score points…I guess Viking sports are a little different. Harry Potter fans might see some similarity between Berk’s sheep tossing dragon races, and quidditch.
Anyway, Hiccup and his Dad are still struggling to get on the same page when it comes to Hiccup’s future. Free spirited Hiccup wants to explore new lands with Toothless and his girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera), while Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) is ready to groom Hiccup to assume his role as village Chief.
When Hiccup’s explorations lead him to discover dragon trappers, and an enemy, Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou), determined to control all the dragons, a battle ensues. Once again, Hiccup wants to use diplomacy and peace to resolve the situation, while Stoic is ready to go to war. Can father and son see eye to eye? Will they be able to save their village and the dragons, and at what cost?
How To Train Your Dragon 2 Review:
“How To Train Your Dragon 2” opens in 3D in theaters everywhere on June 13. We took both our 5 year old and 3 year old to see the advanced screening, and neither of them found it too dark or scary. The sequel features more dragons, incredible animation that really brings the beasts to life, and lots of plot twists. This time around the plot has a lot more depth, and plenty of themes both adults and children can relate to, from family dynamics to exercising your independence. When Hiccup asks “I know I’m not my father, and I never met my mother, so what does that make me?”, you get a glimpse of his inner struggles.
A strong plot, with stronger characters like Valka (Cate Blanchett), Astrid, and Hiccup, and a beautiful dragon wonderland that comes to life in 3D, this film packs a lot into 105 minutes. Where many sequels fall short, I felt this one surpassed the original, and I’m excited to see where the story goes in 2016.