There’s something special about the relationship between a boy and his dog, or in my case a girl and her cat. It’s the stuff of legends, or at least really entertaining movies and more.
These furry critters aren’t just pets. They’re friends, sometimes our best friend.
And technically, they don’t have to be furry.
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” capitalizes on the wildly popular 2010 film of the same name, minus the “2.” The first film introduced us to a young Viking named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and the young dragon he befriends. It’s not an easy relationship as Hiccup’s village is anti-dragon. Long story short — and lots of cute boy and his dragon moments later — everyone learns to get along.
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” picks up about five years later. Dragons and villagers live in peace. Hiccup and his dragon, Toothless, are still the best of friends and exploring the neighboring lands together. They manage to stumble upon not only Hiccup’s mother, who left when he was but a wee babe, but also more anti-dragon people because this world is apparently full of bigots.
Hiccup’s mother, Valka, is a dragon whisperer, rescuing dragons from evildoers and providing them a sanctuary, which provides some amazing visuals and showcases dragons of every size and color.
While the first film focused on cuteness and fun, this one takes a more serious turn. I remember watching the 2010 film and realizing my cat, Mia, is really just a miniature dragon in disguise. The dragons of Hiccup’s world are playful, moody and can be downright belligerent. It was a delight to watch them dish it back as good as they got from their human counterparts.
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” goes beyond all that. It’s not that the movie isn’t fluffy or cute. The dragons are just as cuddly, if that’s possible. The jokes just as funny. And its heart is even stronger.
The bread and butter of this film is its relationships. Hiccup’s got a girlfriend, Astrid, although that’s on the backburner. Hiccup and his father, Stoick, must come to terms with the re-emergence of Valka (Cate Blanchett).
Then we get down to perhaps the most important relationships yet. Hiccup and his father have been on a neverending journey in truly understanding each other. While they don’t see eye to eye on many things, there is a bond there that can’t be broken. Hiccup and Co. may only be computer animation, but that doesn’t lessen the beauty of what’s been created here.
Secondly, there’s Hiccup and his best friend, Toothless. The pair have been through a lot together. Each is the other’s better half. Their relationship is synchronous and just as deep as that between two humans. And it’s tested as harshly as it possibly can be. After all, they’re still from different worlds, no matter how close they may be.
The voices behind the scenes are a bit of a who’s who of Hollywood and includes Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kristin Wiig and Djimon Hounsou. “Game of Thrones’” Kit Harrington is featured as well, but his “Dragon” character has a better run of luck than poor Jon Snow. Seriously, Jon Snow can’t catch a break.
While “How to Tame Your Dragon 2” is geared toward kids, I defy adults not to find something to enjoy as well. The film has action, laughs and a lot of heart. In my book, that’s a winning combo.