How to Train Your Dragon 2 (3D)

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How To Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks)
How To Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks)
What it's about:

Go back to the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless, five years after the two have successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island's new favorite contact sport), the now-inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons, as well as the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognising that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons.

What we thought:

I want to give the people who made this movie a great, big hug. Better than most non-animation films, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who can resist smiling at How To Train Your Dragon 2. Unless that person is a dead corpse.

We find ourselves a few years later in the town of Berk, where dragons have completely settled in their life with the Vikings and help out in all manners of daily life. Not only seen as pets, they are viewed as loyal companions, most of all Toothless and Hiccup, the protagonists from the first HTTYD. Of all the friendships in cinema, this is probably one of the most endearing ones that just touches your heart. It feels quite real on the screen and when that friendship is threatened, you feel like you are about to lose your own best friend.

For an animation it surprisingly resounds with deep emotional connections, good and bad. It kicks Frozen’s icy ass in that department, putting DreamWorks ahead of Disney.

Besides the touchy feely, the humour is also on point and balances delicately between clever wit and kiddy ridiculousness. Almost every character has a hilarious moment and some quite surprisingly so. And the creators don’t stop at the script. Even the background is used to comedic effect, the best of course being my favourite dragon ever, Toothless. There might be some important conversation happening in the foreground, but you are really focusing on that adorable face of Toothless as he haplessly plays with anything and anyone he finds.

What is very interesting about the storyline is that it matured in the same way that the central characters did in the five years since the first movie. It is still adorably silly, but there were some themes I think would be a bit too old for the young young ones and one scene in particular would be very upsetting to children under the age of eight. Nothing wrong with this maturity, appealing to a wider audience, but I do believe the target is an older young crowd.

Animations these days have been mastered into a refined art and HTTYD is no exception. They could have been lazy and just copied all the dragons from a similar mould. Instead, a plethora of creatures were created with the most amazing being the King of the dragons. Not only is the style pretty, but the flying sequences and fighting scenes are so seamless that you just get lost as the fly between giant rocks and wispy clouds. Epic battle scenes, helmed by a menacing villain that chose to dominate instead of understand. I can’t think of anyone that won’t enjoy this masterpiece.

Perfect timing for the school holidays, HTTYD 2 has a variety of great messages, most poignant being that peace should always be the first option, with violence only as a last resort. It does not sugar-coat the fact that diplomatic talks don’t always work in every situation, but at least you should try. If all else fails, just use dragon on their sorry butts.

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