I rarely see kids’ movies, but How To Train Your Dragon from 2010, was beautiful and I loved it. It was in 3D, and the flying sequences were just stunning. Also, the very simple story of Hiccup, the head warrior of Berk’s son, befriending and then training a wild dragon was touching and funny. In the first movie, Hiccup finds Toothless, an injured Night Fury dragon. He nurses the dragon back to health, while learning as much about it as possible, to quickly excel at his ‘dragon fighting’ classes back in Berk. His classmates are astounded, but quickly pick up on the skills, and his father is finally proud of his son. I loved the first movie.
This sequel is equally as beautiful, and picks up 5 years after the first one. If you watched the cartoon that was on (I did) Saturday mornings, you know that the Dragonriders of Berk have been having all kinds of adventures.
Hiccup has grown into a young man, and his father, Stoick, is ready to name him as successor. Gobber is still coordinating the riders, including Snotlout, Fishlegs, and the twins: Ruffnut and Tuffnut. Hiccup and Astrid are in a very serious relationship and Hiccup spends his days riding with Toothless, developing his own flight suit, and mapping out new lands.
On one of his treks, he encounters dragon hunters led by Eret (son of Eret), who claim they are bringing dragons to Drago Bloodfist, who is building an army of dragons. Hiccup relays this information to his father, who insists the clan get ready for war. Hiccup however, is convinced he can negotiate with Drago, and stop the war from happening. This goes very poorly, but in the process, Hiccup encounters a mysterious dragon rider. It’s his long lost mother, who apparently was not eaten by dragons years ago, and has been living with and riding them for years in a secret ice cave, built by their Alpha dragon, who can control the others. The story fairly quickly skips over the part where Hiccup should be outraged that his mother never came back, and she has a wonderful reunion with Stoick. Just as quickly, however, Drago attacks, reveals he has an alpha of his own, and things get worse from there. It does have a happy ending – so hang on through the tough bits.
The voices are all the same from the first movie with a few new additions:
- Canadian stand up Jay Baruchel plays Hiccup again, and it was very interesting to see how they aged and matured his animated character. Baruchel’s distinctive voice gives Hiccup a wonderful charming quality, and his hopefulness that he can avoid war with negotiation is sweet; perhaps unfounded, but sweet.
- Cate Blanchett joins the cast to play Valka, Hiccup’s long lost mother. She has been living with dragons so long, she is slightly off. Like I said, I think there probably would have been a whole sequence of anger for her having stayed away for so long, but hey – it’s a kids movie, so that gets skipped.
- Gerard Butler plays Stoick in your typical loud Scottish Viking way.
- Stoick is usually paired with Gobber, who trained the kids in the first movie, and corrals the dragons in this movie. He’s voiced by Craig Ferguson who is equally loud and Scottish as Butler.
- America Ferrera plays Astrid, and she very quickly establishes that she is staying by Hiccup’s side, no matter what.
- Jonah Hill plays Snotlout again – who is fighting with Fishlegs for the affections of Ruffnut.
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays Fishlegs, and he still has his flashcards of dragon breeds in this movie, which was one of my favorite parts of the first movie – all the different kinds of dragons.
- T. J. Miller and Kristen Wiig play Tuffnut and Ruffnut respectively – I enjoy that they ride a two headed dragon.
- I also enjoyed Ruffnut’s obsession with Eret, son of Eret, played by Kit Harrington – and his biceps.
- Djimon Hounsou plays Drago Bloodfist – a villain who seems to be a villain for the sake of being a villain. As he is building his dragon army, he becomes more and more horrible. I’m not entirely sure what happens to him during the final battle – did he get killed? They didn’t really show it. I sure hope so, I wouldn’t want them to have to deal with that maniac again.
Overall, it’s beautiful, wonderful – but see the first one first – just in case you haven’t. I loved it, but not as much as I loved the first one.
8 out of 10 – Gained points for the alpha fight, but lost points for the result of that fight. Gained points for Valka’s cool dragon riding outfit, Lost points for not really showing the demise of Drago – seriously, I need to know that dude got his comeuppance.
Bonus Video 1: The animated series – pretty awesome.
Bonus Video 2: Reign of Fire – a better dragon movie with Gerard Butler
Bonus Video 3: Cast Interviews