Is every critter, human or otherwise, trainable? And, because training elevates the game and aptitude of the instructed, does the core essence of tutored trainees remain the same? Those questions – as well as Saturnine boundary issues about whether to label entities purely good or evil – are at the core of the How to Train Your Dragon animation franchise.
In the sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2, written and directed by Dean DeBlois, several years have passed since Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) proved that the dragons that were his Viking kingdom’s nemeses could indeed be trained, domesticated and even made trustworthy and lovable, while retaining their dragon natures. Now a teen, Hiccup is on burgeoning romantic terms with gal pal Astrid (America Ferrera), and the boy is being groomed by his father Stoick (Gerard Butler) to rule their now dragon-friendly kingdom of Berk.
Not all the dragons in the region have been subdued, however. Hiccup and his pals (including Kristen Wiig and Jonah Hill) have a run-in with Eret (Kit Harrington). Eret abducts dragons for ruthless boss Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou), who’s assembling a massive, fire-breathing dragon fighting squad, commandeered by a hideous and proverbial mother of all dragons.
On a brighter note, HTTYD 2 introduces the genuine mother of all dragons, a goddess-like dragon caretaker and protector named Valka (Cate Blanchett). Valka presides over an Edenesque sanctuary she’s created for her rehabilitated dragons. And, she happens to be Hiccup’s long lost mother, as well.
Of course, with the presence of Drago’s massive beast that’s capable of making any dragon subservient – and Valka’s overseeing the welfare of countless dragons that may unfortunately become potential military recruits for Drago – it’s clear that Hiccup will eventually have to take the reins to rescue Berk’s dragons which, no surprise, will have flown over to Drago and the dark side.
While the movie evokes the human and dragon species’ higher vs lower natures – the Sagittarian archetypal half-man, half-beast Centaur comes to mind – HTTYD 2 is about what Saturnine respect, persistence and discipline can accomplish. The movie also admirably handles father and son archetypes, not only through Hiccup and Stoick, but also through Hiccup’s maturation to become a father figure to Berk’s population, as well a parental figure to Toothless.
Astrology Film Rating: ♄ (Saturn)