run time: 102 mins
considered: Animation, Action, Adventure
director: Dean Deblois
starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harinton, Kieron Elliot, Philip McGrade, Andrew Ableson, Gideon Emery
movie summary: It’s been five years since we last visited Berk, the viking village that once spent all their time and resources hunting and killing dragons. In the time since Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) caught and trained his night fury dragon Toothless, Berk has changed it’s perception of dragons and now everyone has one as a pet. Dragons have become a part of everyday life in Berk which is kept at peace by its fearless Chief Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), Stoick has been trying his best to groom Hiccup to become the new Chief but he is more focused on flying away with Toothless and discovering new lands. Their lives and village are about to get turned upside down when Hiccup and Toothless find a dragon kingdom amongst the ice caps, and a ruthless dragon catcher named Drago (Djimon Hounsou).
Hiccup has turned into a hero after saving the village and uniting dragons with vikings. He is still dating Astrid (America Ferrera) while focusing all his free time and energy into flying with Toothless to the ends of the world in hopes of finding more dragons and dragon riders. One day when the pair reach a new land covered in ice they are uncertain of what is out there when Astrid and her dragon Stormfly show up. The four of them venture out across the new lands when they are kidnapped by Eret (Kit Harington). Eret is a dragon trapper who is out on the open waters trying to catch as many dragons as possible for his boss Drago, who is building an army of dragons to concur the world. Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless and Stormfly manage to escape before rushing back to Berk to spread the news that Drago is coming. Stoick summons his men to prepare for battle while ordering the dragons be protected, he remembers how dark and ruthless Drago is so he wants to be prepared for the worse. Hiccup believes he can reason with Drago so he grabs Toothless and the pair fly off with the hope to make peace instead of war.
On their flight over the open waters, a handful of dragons take notice of the pair and kidnap Hiccup while dropping Toothless into the water. Toothless struggles to swim while watching his best friend get carried away. A dragon rider with a voodoo mask watches the events unfold before leading the dragons to a cave where Hiccup is released and surrounded by fire-breathing dragons. Toothless is recklessly thrown from the air down to Hiccup’s feet where the pair stand back to back in preparation for a battle, the masked person takes her mask to reveal herself. When she notices the scar on Hiccup’s chin, she can’t believe that the day has finally come where she is reunited with her son. Hiccup is very confused about this shocking development when Valka (Cate Blanchett) begins to tell the story of her last night in Berk and what she has done with her life since.
Stoick has set out with his number one sidekick, Gobber the Belch (Craig Ferguson) to find Hiccup and Toothless. When they reach the ice lands, they come across the caves and find the pair. On the way out Stoick sees Valka for the first time 20 years and instantly falls back in love with her. The pair share a song and dance before agreeing to reunite the family to save Berk. Astrid sees an opportunity with the elders gone to launch a search and rescue of her own, only to get recaptured by Eret and taken to Drago’s ship. Astrid along with Snotlout Jorgenson (Jonah Hill), Fishlegs Ingerman (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Tuffnut Thorston (T.J. Miller), and Ruffnut Thorston (Kristen Wiig) are all imprisoned on Drago’s ship when he reaches the ice lands. Once there he launches an attack on an out numbered Hiccup, Valka, Stoick, and Gobber. The kids manage to break free from their chains thanks to Eret, who has turned into a good guy, and join in the epic battle that is ranging amongst a few hundred dragons. When the battle takes a turn for the worse, Drago summons his dragons and sets sail for Berk with the intention of completely destroying it and capturing all its dragons. Hiccup, Toothless, and the rest of the gang must step up and get back in time to save their home from falling and getting destroyed.
my thoughts: How to Train Your Dragon is one of the greatest animated movies of all-time, four years later Dreamworks returns with another masterpiece; How to Train Your Dragon 2. This is by far the best animated movie of the year and for good reason, it has everything needed to make kids and adults laugh and cry. The film literally keeps you on the edge of your seat with amazing action and flying sequences while also keeping you guessing about who is going to survive the epic dragon wars. The story along with its characters will tug at your heart and make you wipe away a tear or two, wishing the world wasn’t a cruel place. Out of these trouble times though, the opportunity rises for someone (or dragon) to rise up and become a hero.
The How to Train Your Dragon story has always been focused on Hiccup and his crazy antics, but this time around his best friend is given a chance to shine and doesn’t disappoint. I’ve loved Toothless from the first movie and watching him in this second installment moves him up the ladder as one of the greatest animated characters ever. I loved almost every scene he is in because of his fun cat/dog like personality. Whether he’s flying at top speed with his tongue hanging out his mouth or how proud he is to show off his new back plates that Valka shows him, there’s just so much to love about him. Toothless is in almost every sense doing something funny and playful that will make everyone burst out laughing, even the times when Hiccup is trying to be serious, Toothless is seen running around in the background. He gets the most screen time out of all the other dragons even though the dragon count for this movie is upped from a few dozen to several hundred. Other dragons like Stormfly, Hookfang, Meatlug, and Barf/Belch are given their chance to shine with their own skills and funny moments, but this movie and franchise wouldn’t be what it is without our favorite Night Fury.
The story features the same assemble of characters from the original, the kids are growing up to be the future of Berk while the elders return for another turn at trying to be young and reckless. Not everyone makes it in the end of this one but that is the casualty of war, many people must die to protect the idea of peace and prosperity.
Dragon 2 is a movie that needs to be experienced on the big screen to appreciate the animation of these beautiful characters and scenery. The story may drag in a few parts and not make sense in others, but the main point here is that we all need to grow up and when the opportunity arises we must become what we are truly meant to be.
my star rating: 10 out 10
imdb.com: 8.8 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 92% out 100%
rogerebert.com: 3.5 out 4