How To Train Your Dragon 2

Director: Dean DeBlois (2014)

This animated family-friendly sequel soars and roars in a fabulous flight of fantasy.

It’s a handsomely designed adventure with extraordinary animation that conjures up magical images – especially of dragons flying en masse.

The coming-of-age story of Hiccup and his fight to save his village is well-crafted and exciting but a lack of laughs is a major flaw.

Brave and resourceful viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is 20 and his home of Berk is living in harmony with the dragons. His dad, chief Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) expects him to take the throne but Hiccup is unsure about ruling or his own future.

So, armed with a fiery sword, he flies off on his dragon Toothless to discover himself and explore the northern lands.

There he meets mysterious Valka (Cate Blanchett) who warns him of warlord Drago’s plan to enslave all dragons. Meanwhile Hiccup’s adventurous girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera) and her friends are captured by Drago and his pirate fleet.

The ensuing battle between dragons, vikings, pirates and bewilderbeasts – giant alpha dragons with mind-control powers – is spectacular but ends in the death of a loved one.

Hiccup must try to defeat Drago’s army, rescue the dragons, free his village and generally live up to his father’s expectations.

Dragon 2 is good natured and tender at times but the few jokes are mostly gentle slapstick, such as people falling into snow drifts or getting their faces licked by dragons.

While weak sidekick characters fail to provide enough fun and their amorous behaviour is ill-judged in a film aimed at younger kids.

The viking village has lots of nicely designed mechanical gizmos but no-one seems to realise the bat-suit wings that Hiccup sports to glide around may one day make the dragons redundant.

But Dragon 2’s lesson – that it’s never too late to start listening to your dad – is an important one that my son may learn… one day.

★★☆☆

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