How to Train Your Dragon 2

**1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"There is no tension, no expectation of trouble. Happiness infuses the land"

The long awaited sequel to DreamWorks' surprise hit, How To Train Your Dragon, fills the sky with their ilk and the script with muddled thinking. What it needs is clarity. What it gets is a glucose supplement.

Hiccup is the shy, ineffectual son of a chieftain. His friendship with the injured Toothless at a time when dragons were persecuted as dangerous predators was an empathetic coupling that defied prejudice and common knowledge. Dragons were killers, not buddies. Hiccup fought to protect Toothless, losing a leg in the process.

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Now, five years later, dragons are everyone's friend. There is no tension, no expectation of trouble. Happiness infuses the land until a black-hearted dragonnapper threatens the serenity of Hiccup's tribe.

And so we have it. War! As the good dragons line up for active service, Hiccup is going through a self awareness crisis ("I don't know who I am"). It becomes more acute when he discovers that his mother had been living down the coast all that time, running a dragon sanctuary, when everyone at home thought she was dead.

Writer/director Dean DeBlois cannot make up his mind whether this is a CGI 3-D animation spectacular, with trained monsters on the boo-hiss team and brave home schooled dragons on Hiccup's, or a soppy family reunion saga. Either way, Toothless is lost in the mist.

The visuals are wicked. They have to be otherwise there is nothing to do but sit in a circle and listen to Hiccup's mum giving a lecture on the environment.

The first outing of How To Train... took on Pixar and won. The second makes Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs look like a work of genius.

Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2014
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How to Train Your Dragon 2 packshot
Hiccup and his prehistoric friends fight the evil forces of a dastardly dragonnapper
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Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois, based on the books by Cressida Cowell

Starring: voices of Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Djimon Hounsou, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J.Miller

Year: 2014

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

Festivals:

Cannes 2014
EIFF 2015

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