Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Dean Deblois' "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is a lively, extraordinarily detailed and thoughtful sequel that doesn't pander to kids.
Here again we have the Luke Skywalkeresque young viking Hiccup, (Jay Baruchel) who lives in the idyllic village of Berk, a colorful place in symbiotic bliss with all dragons. In the manner of Avatar's planet Pandora, days upon days pass undisturbed, until our protagonist , atop his beloved cute but sometimes eerie friend Toothless (part vampire bat, part dog from The NeverEnding Story) ventures into foreign territory and discovers a ruined fort.
Hiccup unwittingly ignites the greed of Eret (Kit Harington) who blames the young man for the devastation and worse, seeks to capture all of the dragons he can manage, to prove his devotion to the teeth-gnashing ogre Drago (Djimon Hounsou).
Hiccup's father Stoick (Gerard Butler) is instantly apprehensive fearing a war. He wants a preemptive. The son, urges pacifism, determined to change this minion's mind.
The animation is fluid and first rate (humorously echoing both "Avatar" and Keebler elves) while the story, being a metaphor for terrorism, first strikes and old guilts going unfinished, is very emotional and perhaps fit for only the most precocious of Tweens.
As jolting as this might be for small kids,it is colorfully compelling in its attention to detail and the patience it has to tell a story.
There is a poignant and somewhat formidable reunion between mother and son that keeps you guessing.
Mom (voiced by Cate Blanchett) is far from ordinary, wearing wondrous garb reminiscent of a Kokopelli.
Above all, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is a complete realm with its own culture, symbology and ritual. And as it is so facile in its often rapid fire imagery, you might miss the rich detail. This is a universe ruled by the mystical world of dragons. Despite the animation, its environment seems no less tangible or abstract than our own.
Sequels to most films usually possess less artful magic than their predecessor. "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is, I'll soothsay, a resonant and charmed exception to the rule.
Write Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org