How to Train Your Dragon 2

"Essential"

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Review


Bigger and even richer than the terrific 2010 hit animation, this sequel is also quite possibly the best action-adventure movie of the year. Not only are its big set-pieces thrillingly rendered with first-rate special effects, but the characters are complex and involving. And the script effortlessly combines jagged wit, youthful exuberance, heart-stopping romance and even some rather bleak emotions.

Five years have passed since Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) discovered his ability to interact with dragons, specifically his inseparable pal Toothless, bringing a new era of dragon-related fun to the small Viking island of Berk. But now his father Stoick (Gerard Butler) is talking about passing on the mantel of chief to Hiccup, and he's not sure he's ready for that. He'd much rather be out zooming over the ocean exploring uncharted lands. Then on one of his trips he encounters a group of dragon hunters led by Eret (Kit Harington), who is helping the notorious villain Drago (Djimon Hounsou) build an army. But this leads Hiccup to an even more startling discovery: his mother Valka (Cate Blanchett) turns out to be alive and running a secret sanctuary for dragons. Can they team up to stop Drago?

It's a rare film that manages to work equally well in the quiet moments as in the massive spectacle, but writer-director Dean DeBlois never wobbles at all. Without ever manipulating the audience, he seamlessly shifts from tear-inducing happiness to soaringly thrilling battle action to agonising emotional pain. The coming-of-age plot may feel familiar, but it's packed with fresh touches, hilarious observations and some surprising twists and turns along the way.

And for a film designed to look a bit cartoonish, it's eerily realistic thanks to ground-breaking animation that adds uncanny details to every scene. The 3D work pulls the audience into the story, especially in the goosebump-inducing airborne sequences. And the animators add small details as well, from the texture of skin and scales to the smallest mannerism. These characters are visually bursting with life and energy, and their personalities are even more vivid due to the lively vocal performances.

But beyond the technical achievement, this is a hugely resonant story of a young guy working out who he's going to be. Hiccup knows his father is a tough-guy leader, and now he discovers that his mother is a sensitive dragon-whisperer, but he needs to figure out who he is beyond who they want him to be. And this gives the film an unusually strong message about refusing to live up to expectations. Which of course a filmmaker working on a sequel knows something about.

Watch 'How To Train Your Dragon 2' Trailer



How to Train Your Dragon 2

Facts and Figures

Genre: Animation

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th June 2014

Box Office USA: $176.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $609.1M

Budget: $145M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Mad Hatter Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 145 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Hiccup (voice), as Stoick the Vast (voice), as Ruffnut (voice), as Snotlout (voice), as Valka (voice), as Drago Bludvist (voice), as Eret, Son of Eret (voice), as Fishlegs (voice), T. J. Miller as Tuffnut (voice), as Astrid (voice), as Gobber (voice), Kieron Elliott as Hoark the Haggard (voice), Philip McGrade as Starkard (voice), Andrew Ableson as Ug (voice), Gideon Emery as Teeny (voice), Simon Kassianides as No-Name (voice), Randy Thom as Toothless (voice)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.