Monday, June 9, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (PG/102 Min.)

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How to Train Your Dragon 2 has thrown the sequel standard out the window. I would almost venture to say that it was better than the first. This is the story about the power of love, forgiveness and true friendship. I'm ready to see it again.

I went to Saturday's pre-screening and, as you can imagine, a lot of children came to see this show. But, as with the showing of Maleficent, as soon as the movie started you'd never have known any munchkins were in the room at all until something funny or sad happened. They were completely engrossed. It's not surprising at all, really. The animation was captivating and the movie started with a dragon race. What's not to love? My favorite audience participation moment? One character kissed another and several children yelled, "EEEWWWWW!" Just you wait, kids.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 picks up 5 years after we first met Hiccup and Toothless. Instead of joining in the fun of the dragon races, our daring duo is off mapping their world. I know that doesn't sound terribly exciting but anything must be exciting with a dragon for a friend. Along the way, they run across a band of dragon trappers and then discover a cave full of hundreds of dragons who are protected by a mysterious dragon rider. All parties must join forces against the evil Drago to prevent him from controlling the dragons and, therefore, mankind. And, in the middle of all this, Hiccup has to figure out who he really is. No pressure.

If you liked the different characters in the first movie, you'll like them in the sequel. I think you'll also like the newcomers and strongly dislike Drago. He's just a no good, stinky, poo poo head. Sorry for the language. I couldn't help myself. As far as the dragons go, after Toothless, I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite. How fun must it have been thinking up all those critters? I especially liked the ones that belonged to the little old lady in the village. They reminded me of my cats.

This movie has a little bit of everything in it. It's got action. It's got cute, little baby dragons. It's got villains. It's got romance (minimal). It has super-cool, ginormous dragons. It's got a big battle scene. It's got drama. More than I wanted to see but well-done just the same. I will warn you now that one of the dragons and one of the good guys dies in this film. I very nearly came undone. If I hadn't been so worried about being laughed at by the guy who was sitting next to me, I may have bawled for a moment or two. Most of the people in the theater, children included, gasped when both happened. The only reason I mention it at all is so you'll be prepared ahead of time in case your kids wonder what on earth just happened. I'm hoping that I took it to heart more as an adult than a child would because of the things that happened leading up to this scene. Hiccup's reaction, though understandable, hurt almost as much as the loss. I'm getting all sniffly just thinking about it.

Please note that the above-mentioned sadness is just a small part of the movie. They don't give you much time at all to grieve before you're thrust back into battle. After a short, funny scene that is. I was so grateful for that.

If you liked the first film, go see the second. If you haven't seen the first film, rent it and then go see the second. This isn't one you'll want to jump into without knowing the background of the different characters. I would love to be able to go this weekend so I can help it at the box office but my mom is visiting and we'll be off doing various mother/daughter things. Maybe some of you can go twice to make up for my absence. No? Didn't hurt to try. There is no need to stay through the credits unless you like looking at the names. If you do, it's worth it. Some of them are doozies!