The thrilling second chapter of the epic How To Train Your Dragon trilogy brings back the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years later. While Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.
As a children’s film that advocates violence over a talk-it-out policy, How To Train Your Dragon 2 packs an uneven and chaotic wallop. Rife with emotional scenes that—while strong and compelling—lack any thematic connection, Dreamworks’ last gasp at greatness flounders under the crushing impact of its Alpha-male message. While Hiccup never fully adopts Stoick’s manly-man approach of “protecting our own”, the abandonment of a more measured point-of-view and the subsequent defeat of Drago Bloodfist conveys the reprehensible message by proxy. Securing his place as chief of the tribe, Hiccup proves to be no better than his father before him (though the ensuing happy song and pseudo-Quidditch match do their best to mask the meaning).
Stories argue a point-of-view.1 They employ character, plot, theme and genre in their efforts to advocate one position over another. Whether consciously considered or not, this fact of narrative carries message to Audience. In a medium predominantly seen as a safe-haven for children, a film that recommends aggression over temperance seems irresponsible and misguided.
Add to this a complete lack of any thematic heart to the piece and the message comes across as cold and heartless as the villain it purports to fight. Sure there are sad moments, but where is the