I can't believe I'm doing this, but SPOILERS AHEAD! Do not read this article if you don't want to find out what happens in the movie How To Train Your Dragon 2. It also has spoilers for the first movie, too. Just go and see them. They're amazing. Then come back and read this. M'kay?
How To Train Your Dragon 2
Release Date: June 13, 2014
Who was in that one again? The voice talents of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Kit Harrington, and Dijimon Hounsou
I can't remember the plot of the first one. "This is Berk." Berk is a land full of viking warriors who are always battling dragons that are stealing food and animals. The son of the chief, Hiccup (Baruchel), shoots down and wounds an elusive Night Fury, whom he restores back to health in secret and befriends. Hiccup also learns how to ride a dragon instead of kill it, going against his father's (Butler) wishes. He ignores his "dragon training" and instead "trains dragons." His onetime crush and challenger, Astrid (Ferrera) eventually learns his secret and appreciates the dragons too, along with their friends. Eventually the dragons and the vikings come together to defeat the Alpha dragon that controls a large nest, and the dragons live with the vikings in Berk happily ever after.
What happens now? "This is Berk"...except now it's a happy village where the vikings are content with their new pets, and the dragons are happy with their new owners. The chief, Stoic, wants to announce Hiccup as the next chief, but Hiccup isn't sure he's up to it. He'd rather explore new lands and be with his girlfriend Astrid. But the two of them come across dragon hunters, led by Eret (Harrington) who deliver dragons to a man named Drago (Hounsou) for his large dragon army. Stoic has met Drago before, and urges Hiccup to avoid confrontation with Drago. Hiccup wants to be a negotiator with Drago and not resort to violence, but Drago refuses and brings the wrath of his dragon army (with its own dragon-controlling Alpha) to Berk. Meanwhile, Hiccup comes across his mother, a dragon master!
The review: This movie does a fantastic job taking the characters on a new path. It is five years after the first movie, and all the teenagers are now 20 and somewhat grown up (Snotlout and Fishlegs both have facial hair and pine for Ruffnut). Hiccup has really grown up, and I haven't had this much of a crush on a cartoon character since Aladdin.
Toothless - Hiccup's dragon - also keeps his personality of an affectionate friend to Hiccup, while still resorting to his animal instincts at the tense moments. It's fun to see Hiccup's mother Valka (Blanchett) reflect many of Hiccup's personalities, confirming to him where he gets his dragon training abilities. Her movements at the beginning show that she's been with the dragons for a long time, and I'm glad the animators used those movements for her.
Some of the new characters - including Eret - seemed a bit overshadowed by the main players, which is too bad. Drago only appears in the first half of the movie as a flashback, and I think it would have been better if his character and plot were in more of the first half of the movie.
I loved this movie from the very start. It has its share of comedic moments that aren't lowbrow, while also bringing some dark moments (Toothless! Stoic!). There are points in the movie that might drag for young children, but don't see this with someone younger than 7. But for adults who enjoyed the first movie, those "drag" moments are just characters developing.
Definitely see this movie in 3D. My mother and I saw the first one in 2D and regretted not seeing those flying scenes in 3D. This time around, the two of us went again and saw it in 3D.
MVP: Ever since I heard that the movements of Tootlhess (when he's not flying) were based on a cat's movements, that dragon has been my favorite character. His challenge of the Alpha at the end was incredibly appropriate, and brought out a new blue side of him!
Blurb Musing Rating (out of five): Four-and-a-half adorable dragon babies!!