It’s always fun having the grandchildren to stay – and taking them to see a film is one of the treats I enjoy. So long as they enjoy the experience, too…
When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the centre of a battle to protect the peace. This film is set five years after the first hit, How To Train Your Dragon, with many of the characters who featured in that film returning. Hiccup is now on the edge adulthood and his father, Stoick, is keen for him to start taking on some of the day to day responsibilities necessary for running Berk. But Hiccup is absorbed in mapping the world as it unfolds beneath him and Toothless, as they continue winging their way through the skies, skimming the sea.
In common with many modern cartoons, the special effects – particularly the flying scenes are beautiful, as well as exciting. However, unlike the dreadful Planes, this film actually has a strong storyline and characters we care about, so manages not to fall into the trap of merely producing a series of arresting skyscapes and a few set pieces. It doesn’t hurt that the franchise is based on the very successful series books of the same name by Cressida Cowell – see my review of the book How To Train Your Dragon here. While the storyline and the characters don’t follow the same path as those of the twelve-book series, there are sufficient similarities that the films can utilise some of the strong main characters Cowell has created.
Hiccup and his relationship with Toothless is central to this film – if we aren’t convinced their bond is crucial to both of them, then the second half of the storyline simply won’t work. And it does… The touches of humour stopped it being too treacly – and the subsequent action then left me a bit poleaxed… Whatever I’d been expecting – it hadn’t been that.
SPOILER ALERT – So… was it a really enjoyable day out? Well, I loved the film and so did Frankie – but Oscar hated it. And if the children in your life have any issues around the loss of a father, I’d think twice before taking them to see it. While the quality of the film is excellent – I wouldn’t have taken the children to see it if I’d been aware of the whole story and who dies near the end.