Home >mint-lounge >features >Film Review | How to Train Your Dragon 2

Little is gained or learnt in the sequel to the money-spinning animated adaptation of Cressida Cowell’s series of novels of the same name. How to Train Your Dragon 2 has few surprises, enough predictable fun and a running time (106 minutes) that respects the scantiness of the material.

Dean DeBlois’ movie packs the horizon with dragons of all shapes, colours and powers, retains the light-hearted tone of the original, throws in a sentimental family angle and, in its most welcome move, pushes the adorable Toothless to the foreground. The cross between a lizard and a panther with retractable teeth and a goofy grin is proof that in this franchise, four legs are better than two. The soaring battles between the dragons and their hunters are preferable to the constant chatter between the humans, who sound more like suburban Americans than Vikings. Toothless’ minder and best friend, Hiccup, is now 20, but since he’s voiced by comedian Jay Baruchel, he has the wearying wit of a 40-year-old. The final step towards adulthood beckons in the form of his anointment as head of the village, while the rediscovery of his missing mother Valka (voiced by Cate Blanchett) throws up the possibility of a complete family unit. An element of rubber soul creeps into the story when mom and dad (voiced by Gerard Butler) reunite in teary embrace and attempt to twist their kneadable faces into something resembling emotion. Fortunately, there is always a welcome distraction in the background in the form of a dragon or two.

Valka turns out to be something of a hippie mom, whose empathy for dragons took her away from her human world. The sequel continues with its well-meaning message of understanding and caring for the winged creatures rather than hunting them down. The pro-wildlife message is, however, a bit confused, since there’s little to distinguish between the control exerted by Hiccup and the villainous Drago (voiced by Djimon Hounsou).

Drago commands a gargantuan alpha dragon to take over the village, while Hiccup and his fellow Vikings have tamed, rather than trained, the magnificent beasts into cuddly pets and warriors on demand. One yearns for a touch of Hayao Miyazaki, which would have let the dragons be.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 released in theatres on Friday.

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