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How to Train Your Dragon 2 (3D)


Stars: Voices: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Djimon Hounsou, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harington, T J Miller

Director: Dean DeBlois

There are a few too many rather silly dragons in this sequel, which sheds the freshness of the first film and fills the skies with hundreds of the winged beasties by way of compensation.

Happy in harness with his night-flyer dragon Toothless, Viking chief's son Hiccup (Baruchel), roaming the skies on his black steed, discovers a new land peopled by dragon-hunters in thrall to Drago Bloodfist (Hounsou), a much-scarred megavillain assembling an army of dragons with the vague aim of total domination and because he's just, well, bad.

In another new land, Hiccup finds hundreds more dragons under the guardianship of his long-lost mother, voiced by Blanchett with a strange accent (Edinburgh by way of Manchester and Melbourne), whose domain is under threat of invasion by Drago and his winged army, headed by an 'alpha' to match her own which, with Drago, can bend other dragons to its will.

How Hiccup's dad Stoick (Butler) pursues his errant son and joins the battle, while Toothless goes over to the Dark Side, forms the core of this new adventure, which has its share of yawnworthy patches, but really comes to life in a titanic final battle, although even this is reminiscent of other films.

Shafts of humour, however, are welcome, and the animation of the flying beasts is even more spectacular than in the first film. It will leave juniors well-satisfied without quite capturing the unique charm of the original.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox (DreamWorks). Technicolor/Colour by deluxe.
102 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 09 Jul 2014