‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ soars with wit, thrilling visuals
A three-and-a-half-star review of “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” a welcome, witty sequel.
Seattle Times movie critic
Movie Review ★★★½
‘How to Train Your Dragon 2,’ with the voices of Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington. Written and directed by Dean DeBlois. 102 minutes. Rated PG for action adventure and some mild rude humor. Several theaters.
Five years have passed on the Isle of Berk since the events of “How to Train Your Dragon,” and things are peaceful: Those long-suffering sheep are still being tossed through the air (complete with hilarious expressions of sheepish panic), and Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), now a young adult, is still happily tussling with his beloved dragon, Toothless. But nothing stays simple when a sequel is afoot, and early in the delightful “How to Train Your Dragon 2” we learn the hard-earned peace between dragons and Vikings is threatened — and that Hiccup is about to be reunited with a key figure from his past.
The plot doesn’t matter in the slightest; young and old fans of the first movie will be lining up for the wit, for the inventiveness of the characters, for the breathtaking visuals — and just the sheer fun of it all. (It’s written and directed by local resident Dean DeBlois, who co-directed the first film.) Legendary live-action cinematographer Roger Deakins served as a visual consultant, and it shows: The scenes of dragons soaring through the skies have a roller-coaster breathlessness; the sea’s water splashes toward us with uncanny life. It’s a pleasure just to observe the goofy details of the character design: the funny necklessness of many of the Vikings, or the way Toothless makes the kind of good-kitty-cat eyes that would do Puss-in-Boots proud. Along the way, Hiccup becomes a man, we learn once again that dragon saliva doesn’t wash out, and a good time is had by all. I suspect we haven’t seen the last of this franchise — and, judging from the enthusiasm of the all-ages audience at the preview screening, that’s actually just fine.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org