Thursday, July 17, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
Is an Age-Old Viking Tale

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

If you plan to train a dragon, you’d better know what kind you have. Eastern dragons (Chinese, Japanese, Korea, Vietnam, etc.) tend to resemble big snakes, while Western dragons (European, Greek, Slavic, etc.) often have wings. Many breathe fire like a reptilian flamethrower.

The name itself entered the language in the early 13th Century. It comes from the Latin “draco,” meaning “huge serpent.”

No, Godzilla is not considered a dragon.

Dragons appear in the Epic of Gilgamesh (circa 1800 BC), a Babylonian poem that is considered the first great work of literature. A dragon is also featured in Beowulf (circa 975 BC), the Scandinavian tale of a hero who defeats a monster but is later killed by a … well, you know.

The DreamWorks animated movie “How to Train Your Dragon” tells the adventures of a young Viking named Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, son of Stoick the Vast, leader of the Viking island of Berk. He finds and trains a dragon he calls toothless. It’s one of those flying dragons.

Now there’s a sequel -- playing at the Tropic Cinema --  titled “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” In it, we have the further adventures of Hiccup and Toothless. As director Dean DeBlois describes it: “At the end of last film, all these Vikings who were previously somewhat landlocked are now on the backs of dragons so the entire Northern Hemisphere opens up to them. And with that Hiccup’s curiosity increases, the map expands and inevitably they are going to come across new dragons and new cultures.”

Seems that an insane conqueror called Drago Bludvist is amassing an army of dragons. In pursuit of Draco, Hiccup encounters his long lost mother. They face Draco and his Bewilderbeast, (an alpha dragon that controls others of its species, including Toothless). Before it’s over, the boy is forced to become a man, assuming his role as leader of the Vikings.

Yes, it involves lots of flying dragons, battles, and a Viking funeral.

Comedian Jay Baruchel does the voice of Hiccup. Gerard Butler and Cate Blanchett give us the voices of Hiccup’s mom and dad. Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Kristen Wiig round out the cast. Djimon Hounsou is the evil dragon hunter Drago Bludvist.

There’s a third entry in the “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise scheduled for 2016.

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