How To Train Your Dragon 2 is an action-packed and exhilarating sequel, set five years on since we first met Hiccup, his Night Fury dragon, Toothless, and his friends in the village of Berk. It’s a worthy follow-up with lots of thrills and adventure and some excellent animation – but take note of these 5 things before you see it…
1 It’s best for children aged 7 and over
Our panel of reviewers (2 parents, 5 children ranging from 7 to 14) recommend that this isn’t a film for pre-schoolers and early primary school children. It’s loud, fast-paced and quite dark in places, with some scary evil foes. There are lots of dramatic battle scenes and fighting – oh, and a little bit of flirting. It makes for an exciting action movie, which has some stunning visuals – but it may be too much for young, sensitive children. Of course, all children have different likes and reactions – and you’ll be the best judge of suitability for your own child.
2 An important character dies
And what’s more, the death is caused by another hugely-popular character. We don’t want to spoil the plot but it’s quite a sad part, ending with a funeral ceremony – and another reason why we’d say 7 is a good starting age. We thought that the fact that the character is killed (unwittingly) by an adored personality would cause some big tears, but our 7 year old was fine because the character “didn’t mean to do it”.
3 You don’t need to have seen How To Train Your Dragon 1
The story is understandable from the beginning, without knowing the details from the first movie. There are also some helpful back story explanations peppered throughout, such as why Toothless can’t fly on his own and Hiccup lost part of his leg. There are also nice little touches for those who did see the first film, such as how the townsfolk have adapted to living with the dragons.
4 There’s a controversial (implied) outing
OK, this is one for the adults and something that will fly over the heads of younger children, but it did stir up protests from some religious groups in America. The cause: a surprise self-outing by one of the more macho characters. Or at least, that’s what seems to be implied by a quick one-liner. It proved a LOL moment and hilariously, in our showing, because the parents laughed, so did many of the children. We’re sure the little ones didn’t understand why they were laughing but our teens were pleased to have ‘got it’.
5 There’s a weird mix of accents
Again, this isn’t going to bother the children, but it may bother you. There’s a curiously global combination of accents inhabiting the movie. Many of the town leaders have strong Scottish accents, Hiccup is Canadian and a new swashbuckling character has a plumy English voice. But the worst is Cate Blanchett’s character, who has an accent that swerves from the Highlands to middle England to the mid-Atlantic and back to a Celtic burr. Strangely only Cate’s native Australian doesn’t make an appearance. Of course, this is only a mild distraction, but now we’ve pointed it out, it’s probably going to irritate you too. Sorry!