The training is over! Let the adventure begin! Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Director: Dean DeBlois
Voices: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington
Despite having managed to watch this movie before its supposed release date, whatever date that was (I found posters with 3 different dates on!) this movie was definitely worth going to the cinema three times to see!
It may not make you blubber like Pixar’s Toy Story 3 did, but Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 will make you laugh, hope, and fall ridiculously in love with the cat-like dragon Toothless. Based (rather loosely) on the books by Cressida Cowell, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a sequel to How to Train Your Dragon released in 2010. Based on an island called Berk, inhabited by Vikings and their pet dragons, this film is undoubtedly designed for young children (not that the PG rating gives it away…). However, the beauty of well-crafted animation, relatable characters and an insanely good soundtrack reminds us all of how children films are sometimes the best.
Stripping it back to just its plot, we find ourselves 5 years onwards from the previous movie, and our protagonist Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is faced with typical ‘becoming of age’ issues at the age of 20. His father, Stoick (voiced by a perfectly gruff Gerard Butler) is pressuring him to take on responsibilities of chief of the tribe, whilst instead Hiccup is too preoccupied with flying off to explore new lands with his Nightfury, Toothless. Alongside this, he is juggling his long-term relationship with Astrid (voiced by Ugly Betty’s America Farrah) whilst dealing with a dragon-army threat lead by no other than a Viking version of Blackbeard, Drago (Djimon Hounsou). Oh and did I mention he finds his thought-to-be-dead mother, Valka (Cate Blanchett). A lot happens in 102 minutes you know! Unfortunately, its plot won’t surprise you and there are no mind-bending twists in it either, but the finer details in the execution of the animation is what makes this movie so special.
Take for example, a scene where Hiccup and Astrid are in conversation. Throughout this scene Astrid is taking the absolute micky out of Hiccup in the way he shrugs when he talks, providing a light-hearted joke. However, for those of us who have been in a relationship for a long time, like our characters here, you will recognise the sort of teasing you give your partner after being with them for so long. There are no overdramatic sighs, long stares or any sort of serious romance between our characters. Instead filled with quick pecks on the cheek, knowing smiles and jabbing teases, our on-screen animated couple don’t portray a movie relationship, but one far more realistic. And just to make this scene even better, let your eye wander to the background in which you can follow a mirrored, teasing relationship happening between the dragons Toothless and Stormfly. Though in a fantasy land where Dragons are pets, How to Train Your Dragon 2 portrays possibly the most realistic characters in animation providing some of the most relatable scenes for both children and adults alike.
If the human characters don’t sway you, then the black kitten of a dragon will. You know how Disney provides a little cute animal character that you can’t help but love? Whether it’s Pascal in Tangled or Gus Gus from Cinderella, Toothless outdoes them all. Twofold. Already insanely loved from the first movie, the second provides even more dedication to his character. Toothless takes centre stage as a dragon based on a cat which is probably why he is even cuter. With more facial expressions, an amusing laugh and a bigger role, we all leave the cinema hunting for the nearest pet store that sells a Nightfury. Or more realistically, taking no shame in tweeting how much we want a dragon and looking online for a Toothless plush toy.
In all, the movie isn’t going to make you go on an emotional roller coaster or come out reflecting on life. Instead you will walk out with a very warm fuzzy feeling inside and humming to the addictive, Irish-dance style soundtrack. As well as repeatedly saying how much you want ‘a Toothless’. Moreover, if like me after seeing it, you won’t be able to wait for it to come out on DVD as it will be the perfect movie for a rainy day, or even a sunny one. This movie like its predecessor is going to be a film that in years to come that you will keep coming back to watch again and again.
How to Train your Dragon 2 is out now in cinemas across the country.