How to Train Your Dragon 2 is everything a sequel should be
Life in Berk continues to be amazing. Dragons used to be a problem, but now they’ve all moved in. When a new villain named Drago comes to town in ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2,’ can Hiccup and Toothless save the day?
I want a dragon. I want to be able to soar the skies atop a colorful, protective beast that may or may not have the ability to breathe and shoot fireballs to smite mine enemies. I want that freedom to explore and not be tied down upon this earth. I’d never seen DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon prior to this week, but after viewing it and its sequel, I can understand why it is so popular with adults and children alike. Hiccup and Toothless make a great team and the sequel was everything a sequel should be and more!
Starring Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou and Kit Harington, How to Train Your Dragon 2 picks up about five years after the first story. The Vikings and dragons on Berk continue to live and work together in peace. The kids have all gone through puberty, and Hiccup has taken to the skies with Toothless more and more often to chart unexplored territories so his people can better understand their world and how their island relates in comparison. Hiccup’s father Stoick wants his son to become the next chief of the village, but Hiccup is reluctant to train to become the next leader. He knows the next chief will have some pretty big shoes to fill and doesn’t know if he’s quite up to the task.
I can relate to Hiccup on so many levels. In the first movie, he was a boy who felt like he didn’t fit in with the rest of the village of Berk. It seemed like no matter what he did, he managed to always do something wrong and somehow disappoint his father. In the latest installment, he’s still soul-searching even though he has come so far and accomplished so much. Hiccup is now a man who feels conflicted about his destiny largely because he has grown up without the love of his mother. As a person who grew up never having known my father, I understood perfectly how Hiccup felt when he was trying to explain to Astrid how he didn’t fully understand himself because he didn’t fully know where he had come from. When half of your genetic pool is missing from your life, it’s hard to feel complete. I think people who grew up with both parents in their lives (in whatever capacity) have a harder time relating to this.
Luckily for Hiccup (and I don’t think I’m giving away anything if you’ve seen the previews), his mother Valka isn’t really dead. It turns out she has spent the past 20 years living among the dragons, teaching them, learning from them and saving them from those who wish to do them harm. Hiccup learns more about himself and why he has such an innate love for dragons as a result of his time with his mother. What I wouldn’t give for just five minutes with my own father to “unlock” more things about myself and my own special gifts. But unfortunately, in the real world, people don’t often resurface after death.
This time around, the Vikings and dragons of Berk now face a shared threat: Drago, a ruthless Viking from a far-away village destroyed by dragons who possesses a fear and hatred for them. He has assembled a dragon army to do his bidding, which threatens the peace of Berk and everywhere else. The people and dragons of Berk must collectively stand up to Drago to preserve their way of life. What makes this a great sequel is that we get some nice character development. Everyone is still the same and familiar, and yet they’ve all somehow changed too.
Like any other well-done animated feature that comes from the DreamWorks team, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is full of laughs, surprises and tender moments that will delight both children and their parents. They have assembled a solid cast in this franchise (honestly, it’s hard to pick a favorite character because they’re all so great in their own unique way, but the dragons steal the show for me), and the 3D animation is absolutely stunning. At times you feel like you really are soaring through the clouds with Hiccup, Toothless and crew. Honestly, it made me a little dizzy at the beginning of the movie because I needed some time to adjust to it. However, I’m sure your children will love it. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is an animated feature with heart that has the ability to entertain you as well as make you think.
I think the most important lesson to be learned from this movie is a person needs to only look within their own heart to discover who they really are and what their destiny has in store for them. Confidence to go out and face your own dragons (seemingly insurmountable obstacles and future uncertainties) stems from within, and sometimes you can find friendship, love and more in the places you least expect it. I know, I for one, look forward to seeing more from this franchise in the future.