How to Train Your Dragon 2
Dean DeBlois's sequel to the popular How to Train Your Dragon (2010) is a high-flying and high-minded animated adventure that picks up the story of Hiccup, the intrepid young Viking dragon-tamer voiced by Jay Beruchel, and assorted Nordic folks of his island village Berk after they've made peace with the once-feared but now petted beasties of the title.I quite liked the mix of whimsy and dread in the first film, and was thrilled to see the sequel (a third is planned for 2016) expands this magical world beyond the delightfully intricate backdrop of the village to explore new astoundingly beautiful territories. (The aerial scene that opens this thoroughly entertaining film is breathtaking. Do see it in 3D.) When the film opens, Hiccup, an aeronautical genius and son of the village chief, Stoick (voiced by Gerard Butler), is on a mission with his loyal dragon companion Toothless, a rare Night Fury, to make all of the dragons friends of man (and vice versa) but on one of his excursions he is confronted by a crew of wranglers in the employ of one of the ruthless villain Drago (Djimon Hounsou), who means to rule the world with a dragon army. When told of Drago's plot, Stoick decides to protect his own and put Berk under lockdown, but Hiccup and girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera) slip out to try to change Drago's mind. While they are out Astrid is captured by the wranglers and Hiccup is intercepted by a kindred spirit and therein lies the heart of this surprising and touching film. Highly recommended though it contains frightening scenes of destruction and the death of major character and so might be too much for the little ones.