Thanks to a solid story backed with a surprising (for Hollywood) theme about the terrible price of idealistic appeasement, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” will thrill kids and hold the interest of most adults.
Not having seen the first, I can only assume the $145 million DreamWorks sequel picks up a few years after the original left off — where thanks to young Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), the Viking village of Berk has now entered into an idyllic existence after having made peace and pets of the regions many colorful dragons.
This obviously can’t last, and doesn’t.
The problem is Drago, (Djimon Hounsou), a conqueror consumed with bloodlust who’s building a seemingly unstoppable dragon army controlled by a battleship-sized beast of a dragon call the Alpha. After stumbling across and barely escaping from Drago’s dragon trappers, Hiccup defies his chieftain father under the naïve assumption he can avoid war by reasoning with Drago.
Hiccup’s journey helps him find a piece of his past but ultimately stops nothing. War still comes but not before a tragic and unnecessary price is paid. It is the rare film nowadays where the young, idealistic peacenik is proven so wrong after defying his father.
Another refreshing element is the almost total absence of cheap potty jokes.
The animation is top-notch and the many flying sequences are at times exhilarating. Even if there’s nothing that sticks to the ribs, “Dragon” is still satisfying.
ADDED: I saw but didn’t even pick up on the gay marriage reference being talked about in the comments. It comes off as a non sequitur, not a coming out. Still, why?
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC