Film Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2


How to Train Your Dragon 2 is an entertaining sequel which provides marvellous spectacle.

Five years since Hiccup and Toothless united Vikings and dragons, the islanders are living in harmony. When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave on a neighbouring island, the pair find themselves at the centre of a battle to restore peace…

Following the success of How to Train Your Dragon, director Dean DeBlois is back for the second instalment. The narrative is fairly standard adventure fare, with a few devices thrown in fro good measure. After a little meandering at the beginning of the film (talking in the necessary foreshadowing), the pace picks up for the next two thirds.

Characters from the first film are developed in a natural manner, in keeping with what was presented there. Newcomers are fine for the most part, although the antagonist is a little one dimensional. The film relies on fantasy/action tropes rather than fleshing out this role. Nevertheless, the focus on the film remains on Hiccup and Toothless, so this is not a big problem.

The beauty of How to Train Your Dragon 2 is how engaging the central pair are. Hiccup and Toothless are well crafted enough for the audience to care about their outcomes. As a result, there are moments in the film that are genuinely emotional. Writer-director DeBlois has done well to make these come across as most sincere.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 offers tremendous spectacle with its animation. The flying sequences are wonderful to watch; and there is a richness to the animation which seems delightfully indulgent. It is really worth seeing the film in IMAX to experience just how fantastic the film looks. Jay Baruchel and Cate Blanchett lead a strong vocal cast.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a highly successful sequel. Fans of the first film will not be disappointed.

Film Review: How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon works well on every level, and should be as entertaining for adults as it is children. The film’s box office success is unsurprising, particularly when considering the 3D element it offers.

The film centres on Hiccup, a young Viking who is worlds apart from the rest of his town, particularly his father. Hiccup is immediately identified as an outsider, having neither the strength nor the bravery to fight dragons, despite his desire to please his father. After befriending a dragon, Hiccup realises that slaying dragons may not be the way forward…

Hiccup is a very likable protagonist; most will be able to identify with his position as different to those around him. Furthermore, the film highlights the importance of keeping your own identity, and not following the crowd. Hiccup overcomes the odds in own way, persuading his contemporaries to his way of thinking.

The animation in How to Train Your Dragon is superb. Particularly appealing is Toothless, the dragon that Hiccup befriends. His mannerisms are cute; clearly the figure represents multiple merchandising opportunities. The use of 3D works excellently in the film; taking into account many of the 3D films released in the last year or so, it seems the form works better with animated or heavily CGI-infused productions.

The only real negative element of the film is that the narrative is quite predictable. But given that this is a family-orientated feature, it would be difficult for Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders to push boundaries too much, whilst retaining the film’s mass appeal.