Prevalent in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was the “morality play”; allegories, where the protagonists personified moral attributes; the themes were infused with religious gravity, one was granted the freedom of choice, hence the moral dilemma, which highway led to the celestial, or the dungeon of the doomed.
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” is an animated, sophisticated, contemporary spin on an archaic art form; every man, woman and beast exemplifies traits informing myriad aspects of the human condition. More compelling than its predecessor, “Hiccup” (Jay Baruchel) is twenty, floundering in the indecisive chasm between adolescence and adulthood; he is “virtue”, but conflicted in taking over the reign of his father “Stoick the Vast” (Gerard Butler), profoundly “just” but incapable of seeing the gray areas in the warring “dragon” factions; “Astrid” (America Ferrera) Hiccup’s betrothed and a feisty reincarnation of “Diana”, goddess of the hunt; she’s “intrepid”, vastly confident and pure.
Fascinating, polarizing forces anchoring the film are “Valka” (Cate Blanchette) and “Drago” (Djimon Hounsou); “benevolence” versus “malevolence”; reminiscent of “Satan’s” fall from grace but not losing his capacity to sway man’s destiny. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” soars with the collision of these two magnetic polemics and their devoted disciples.
Writer/director Dean DeBlois’s prescience lies in reshaping the Western mythological, religious reputation (revered in the East) of the “dragon”; a fiery weapon of mass carnage, slain by “St George” in Christian iconography; a dragon as a pet, oxymoronic; “Toothless”, Hiccup’s loyal mount and best friend fractures the iconic image of a destroyer; his metamorphic transformation commenced in 2010, will attain fruition in 2016.
Supremely imaginative, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” , regardless of demographics, will stimulate, titillate all audiences.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!