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How To Train Your Dragon 2

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Starring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, America Ferrera, Kristen Wiig (Rated PG – 102 min).

Kids may just ask their parents for a pet dragon after viewing this excellent family film. As the second installment to a proposed trilogy, this has already been boldly described by some as The Empire Strikes Back of the How to Train your Dragon franchise – a big suggestion I don’t totally agree with. It is a superior sequel but the Star Wars statement is too much. However, as far as sequels go this is a tremendous family film regaining all the beautiful imagery and enthralling fantasy storytelling of the original. Things get a touch darker in tone, never upsetting, also reaching levels of emotional joys that may touch your heart.

After a spectacular opening action set piece reminding me of an Angry Birds game with added flying sheep, the story picks up on Hiccup, the loner nerd hero who previously found success uniting dragons and vikings. Still best friends with Toothless, they are barely apart constantly off on new adventures together. Discovering a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new dragons and home to the mysterious ‘Dragon Rider’, the unlikely duo have to stand up for what they believe in to prevent another impending battle.

Emphasis on Hiccup overcoming adversity is a key plot point, he is also brought back to the presence of his adoring Mother Valka voiced by the dulcet tones of Cate Blanchett. After a long absence apart, it is wonderfully handled. Their scenes together and ongoing subplots are tender, realistically touching family emotions that purposely pull on the heartstrings. It’s not all sadness and love though with more fire-breathing thrills form many more dragons, while the wisecracks are never far away, especially with Jonah Hill as the voice of Snotlout. That subjective wacky humour is mostly designed for adults in the audience.

Although it’s a snarling villain, this is not as scary for young children as the recent Maleficent – this is excellent family entertainment ideal for all ages. Visually stunning, the rich colours add to the high-flying magic, backgrounds of vast lands are of immaculate detail. If 3D is an option, this is one of the few I would recommend. It is a rare sequel that you don’t have to have seen the original to enjoy proceedings. Grab some popcorn and prepare for pure elation.

Shane A. Bassett

Sydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.