HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 | MOVIE REVIEW

If you know me or spend any time on the Salty Popcorn Facebook Page  you have probably witnessed my love for the HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON franchise, the first film is one of my all time favourite animations and movies. I fell in love with Hiccup and Toothless and can’t get enough, I regularly watch their TV show DRAGONS: RIDERS OF BERK and when I heard this sequel was coming I squealed a little bit. I have the poster framed in my hallway and squealed even louder when they announced more sequels after this one. I can happily say this is as good as the first film and does everything grander. It is definitely the best animation I have seen since the last one and the level of brilliance of this franchise holds no bounds. You can catch up with Hiccup and Toothless and the entire crew plus a few extras in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 at cinemas on previews this weekend (14/15 June) and then full release into every cinema from June 19th. It is rated PG and runs for 102mins of pure awesome!!

 

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 THEATRICAL POSTER IMAGE
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | THEATRICAL POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING 

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 starts off 5yrs after the last film finished. The town of Berk is now a thriving dragon village, everyone has a dragon and everything has been modified to accommodate the dragon lifestyle. Everything is blissful and the chief of the village and Hiccup’s dad, Stoick (Gerard Butler), wants to abdicate the chiefdom to his son, the much grown up and incredibly good looking animated character, Hiccup. Hiccup has grown into a legendary rider, a man and his dragon. He still has Jay Baruchel’s squeaky voice that is so recognisable as Hiccup and Hiccup is not ready to settle down and run a clan of Vikings and their dragons. He is not for the organisation, he is for the adventure and he and Toothless have more adventures they want to do, worlds to see and life to live.

During one of his adventures, he comes across two things that can change his life forever, (these are in the trailers so I do not consider them spoilers but be warned if you have had trailer blackout pre seeing the movie). The first is a warmonger in the evil Drago Bludvist, voiced very darkly by Djimon Hounsou (GLADIATOR, BLOOD DIAMOND). He wants to control all the dragons and has a megalomaniac mission to take over the world through force and his dragon army. The second, and the best, he discovers another Dragon Rider, a true legend in her own right, his mother, Valka, voiced beyond superb by Cate Blanchett. Her voice work is outstanding, so beautifully toned and her accent so good my mum saw that it was Cate Blanchett in the credits and was blown away it was her. It should be noted it took mum all of two sentences for her to pick Kit Harrington (Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) as the voice of Dragon Catcher Eret. Harrington is a great addition who I believe will now be a regular in the franchise.

 

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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | HICCUP AND TOOTHLESS FLY OVER THE OCEAN WITH MORE DRAGONS IN TOW

 

The thing I noticed about the TV show of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, DRAGONS: RIDERS OF BERK, is that it always has a message in each episode, a message to try and imprint on the kidlets (and JK) watching it. It could be something as simple as don’t lie, remain loyal etc but every episode has one strong message. And the movie does the same thing, it is strong messaging about loyalty, love, family, looking after your own, kindness, fun and adventure. This is where the film becomes universal for adults and children alike. It is so bright and has some of the best Dreamworks Animation ever imagined that appeals to all but then the storyline is accommodating to both adults and children without being patronising or stupid. The first film was all about a boy meeting his dragon and the only enemy in the film was Hiccup’s ignorance and the village’s inbred fear and therefor hatred shrouded in superstition of the dragons. Basically, the people of Berk were their own enemy.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 adopts a different approach in this with the two new characters. Drago is pure evil, a bulky viking with no fear and pure hatred for all and a want for destruction. He strives for world dominance with his hatred for everything and having the dragons in his servitude. He is the dark. Then there is Valka, the light, the mother of Hiccup, the wife of Stoick, a woman who has been missing for twenty years and has dedicated her life to saving dragons and living a life of love with them and nature. She is a warrior and lives to save and keep dragon’s safe. She is everything that Hiccup is and we now see why Hiccup was so different from his father, Stoick, in the first film, he took every gene from his mother. But this is also why Stoick loves Hiccup so much, he is everything that he loved in his supposedly dead wife and also the reason why Stoick hated dragons so much.

 

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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | MEETING THE ALPHA

 

Dreamworks Animation is onto a winner and pure gold with this franchise, it can go on and on and on and on if they plan it right. It is never over the top for children, funnily enough the 3D session we watched yesterday had myself and the parental units in it and then about thirty families, all with young kids, and besides one toilet visit the kids never lost their focus for 102mins – this is nearly impossible!! The hook for the adults, it is in the same genre as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and most importantly, it is basically an animated Game of Thrones, even has Jon Snow in it – what is not to love about this franchise?

Dean DeBlois is a master, he has written and directed both of the HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGONS and a little Disney film known as LILO AND STITCH. I never knew that HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 and the original are actually based on a book series from Cressida Cowell. This is annoying, I am now going to have to buy and read all eleven books in the series. If things keep going this woman is going to become the new JK Rowling, the inspiration from her stories are superb and the books apparently can be thoroughly enjoyed by kids and adults – sorry PayPal account – you are about to be destroyed 🙂

 

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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | HICCUP AND TOOTHLESS

 

I am actually considering going to see this movie again today, I have tried but it is not up for pre-order on Blu Ray yet. If you loved the first one you will worship this one. Get out and see this superb piece of animated perfection that has animated characters with more emotional range than the majority of Hollywood. It is perfect for the whole family and no one will be disappointed. I cannot wait for more.

All hail Hiccup and Toothless as they battle for the Numero Uno spot in JK’s top ten films of the year.

 

5 Pops