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ROB HEDELT reviews movies and TV shows,  and is a  columnist for The Free Lance-Star. You can email him at

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New “Train Your Dragon” movie beautiful and action packed

Though it gets a little heavy in spots for an animated movie aimed at children, killing off one of the main characters, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is a beautiful and riveting adventure.

It manages to do what animated sequels rarely do: expand the scope and the action of the original, which introduced us to this world where a Viking-like people have learned to live in harmony with dragons.

This film with a large cast giving voice to the characters works well in two very different ways.

First, as the plot builds to an eventual battle between those who subjugate dragons and others who value them, the storyline follows young Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) as the young dragon-rider struggles with duty and his destiny.

Second, the film is often stunningly beautiful, especially the scenes when Hiccup stumbles onto an island where every hill, cliff and space of air explodes with flying, flapping and dancing dragons of every shape and color.


The Norse-like folk in Hiccup’s village were a bit sillier in the first film. This time out, they’re the hale and hearty tribe from Berk that doesn’t shrink from standing up to the mysterious dragon hunter and his legions.

Does the influence of violent medieval battles found in “Game of Thrones” bleed over into a film like this?

Probably not, though as Hiccup, his father and the rest of their village proceed to stand up to the evil dragon hunter, there are elements of medieval warfare that feel a bit much for your typical animated feature.


Indeed, there’s enough conflict and violent moments to make this a bit tough for the very young to see.

Especially in a scene that sends a dead warrior off to Valhalla in a flaming warship.

That may well be a creative/marketing strategy at work here, to make this something older kids and even young adults won’t want to miss.

It’s a deserved appeal because, well, much of it really is pretty cool to watch, with graphics and action that make the dragons not just come alive, but explode on and across the screen.

They try to accommodate the youngest viewers with some silly, young dragons that are funny to watch.

Even as the battle scenes will appeal to any who enjoy this sort of flight into fantasy and a hero trying to do what’s right.



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