[dropcap letter="L"]ife is an adventure, but you’ve got to admit, the daily grind can get pretty tedious, especially when you’re growing up and dealing with greater responsibilities.
The events of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" take place five years after dragons became a part of village life in Berk. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is being groomed for leadership by his father Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), but he feels that he isn’t the person for the job, and prefers going on adventures with his dragon Toothless. And who can blame him? Dragons are fun and friendly—like loyal dogs, who just happen to fly and breathe fire.
Here are 8 real-life people, pastimes, and plights made even more awesome by dragons:
Vikings are pretty cool: they’re intrepid seafarers with a penchant for discovering new lands and commemorating their adventures in narrative verse. (They were also ruthless raiders, but nobody’s perfect). The Vikings of Berk are a lot less violent than their real-life historical counterparts, especially since they decided to tame dragons and keep them as pets. Another point to their coolness tally: the Scottish brogue of the elder Vikings, Stoick and Gobber the Belch (Craig Ferguson).
In between the first and second How To Train Your Dragon movies, Hiccup and Toothless have been exploring the lands beyond Berk and observing dragons in their natural habitat. Hiccup invents and uses nifty tools, some of them inspired by dragon traits; as for Toothless, his flying has made mapmaking more precise, but his playful nature makes it less scholarly.
Increased knowledge about dragons has helped Hiccup with his inventions. Like a teenaged, dragon-flying, Viking Tony Stark, Hiccup tweaked his armor (as well as Toothless’s tail modifications) to enable him to engage in extreme sports like skydiving. His landing needs a little work, though.
Imagine a sport that combines horse racing with rugby, basketball, and a little sheep wrangling thrown in for good measure. On second thought, don’t bother—our life experiences are not vast enough to imagine the awesomeness that is dragon racing. Lucky for us, How To Train Your Dragon 2 has one action-packed sequence devoted to this fictional sport.
In Game of Thrones, Kit Harington plays Jon Snow, Stark bastard, steward of the Night’s Watch, He-who-knows-nothing. He joins the cast as Eret, son of Erik, a sometimes-swashbuckling, sometimes-bumbling dragon wrangler, whom Hiccup and Astrid (America Ferrera) meet during one of their explorations, and becomes the Berk crew’s connection to the movie’s big bad. Close your eyes and tune out everything but Harington’s voice—this is the closest you’ll ever get to Jon Snow knowing something about dragons.
Speaking of big bads, few cartoon villains are as terrifying as Drago Bloodfist (Djimon Honsou) and his dragon army, led by a level-10 alpha that can control lesser-willed dragons with just one look. The village of Berk is in for one big fight, and it takes the combined efforts of old and new characters to keep Drago from invading Berk.
It’s no spoiler to say that a significant subplot of How To Train Your Dragon 2 involves Hiccup meeting his mother Valka (Cate Blanchett), whose affinity for dragons he has inherited. Meeting a previously presumed dead mother can get awkward and emotionally terrifying, but the antics of Toothless and Valka’s dragon Cloudjumper, significantly lighten the mood, while emphasizing the values shared by the estranged mother and son. The reunion between Valka and Stoick is pretty sweet, too.
For all its thrilling 3D action sequences and lighthearted moments, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a coming-of-age story. By the end of the movie, Hiccup discovers that the person he wants to be and the person he has to become is one and the same. He learns to take responsibility and understands the importance of protecting his community, at great personal cost. But with his dragon Toothless, along with his loved ones and their dragons, by their side, Hiccup is more than ready to take the next step of his life’s journey.
"How to Train Your Dragon 2" comes to Metro Manila theaters on June 11. Please post your thoughts and feels in the Comments Section.