By Darlene Donloe
The highly anticipated sequel to How To Train Your Dragon is set for nationwide release June 13. It’s been five years since Hiccup and Toothless united dragons and Vikings on the island of Berk. Well, in How To Train Your Dragon 2, the second part of a trilogy, the journey continues. This time around there is one very exciting surprise, plus the appearance of a luscious bad guy named Drago, voiced by the even more luscious Djimon Hounsou.
The film is based on the children’s book series by Cressida Cowell. In the first film Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) befriended an injured dragon, which changed the way the residents of Berk interact with the fire-breathers. Now, Vikings and dragons live side-by-side in peace.
The latest film, which is in 3D, is a lot darker than the first, which started off slow, but eventually grossed $500 million worldwide.
Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, this action comedy tells the story of Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn't exactly fit in with his tribe's longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. Hiccup's world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges he and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view.
Children will enjoy this film because it has a lot more action. Hiccup and Toothless unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons.
How To Train Your Dragon 2, directed by Dean DeBlois, features the voice of Gerard Butler, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington, Craig Ferguson, Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller and Kristen Wiig.
I caught up with some of the cast members – Djimon Hounsou (DH), Gerard Butler (GB), Kit Harington (KH) and Craig Ferguson (CF) at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to talk about the film.
Stoick the Vast and Gerard Butler
Q: So, you’re revisiting this character, Stoick the Vast. How has he changed from the first film?
GB: In this film you meet a much more relaxed Stoick. His kid is doing great. It’s a different world. In this film my character thinks his time is coming to an end and wants his son to take over. Stoick wants to pass on the mantle.
Q: Same question to you Craig Ferguson.
Craig Ferguson and Gobber
CF: My character, Gobber, is very excited and has an air of tolerance. He’s also excited about changes. He’s upbeat at the beginning of the film. He also lets slip a secret.
Q: Did you ad-lib any of your lines?
CF: Yes, the line where I say, “That’s the reason I didn’t get married.” The line I said after that, “And there is one other reason” is an ad-lib that they let stay.
Q: Djimon, your character, Drago, is new.
DH: For Drago, I felt extremely challenged. I mean, Gerard’s voice was such a presence. I thought I had to out do this man (laughter).
Q: What are your feelings about the sequel?
KH: It’s like any successful film. It’s not necessarily a kid’s movie. The movie deals with adult issues. Honestly haven’t seen animated films where there are parents who split, a father who is a single father bringing up his son. The film will do well because kids love fantasy.
Q: Same question to you Mr. Butler.
GB: You see the love in this film. You definitely see the love I have for my boy. In this film, everyone wants the best. This film was interesting to me. I personally didn’t see my father for 14 years. I asked my mom one day if he was coming back and if I’d ever see him again. She said, “No.” I came home one night and my step dad told me to keep on my jacket. I went to this restaurant and I literally went table to table looking for a man that looked like me. He was the weirdest guy in the restaurant.
Q: Djimon, your voice is very spooky in the movie. Was there some concern about it being too scary for kids?
DH: Having a son you quickly want to keep a legacy going. Being in an animated feature is important. The first one [How To Train Your Dragon] I saw with my son. I was impressed. With Drago, even though you’re dealing with kids, you can’t polish or tear it down just because you’re doing a film for kids.
Q: What were your thoughts when you saw the finished product?
DH: I was pleasantly blown away.
GB: The first movie is one of my favorite films ever. It was incredible. My part in it had nothing to do with it being incredible. Animation has come a long way. It’s an exhilarating ride you go on.
Q: What’s up next for all of you?
KH: I just finished a couple of films in England. I also have the never ending Thrones [Harington plays Jon Snow, the bastard son of Eddard Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones].
DH: I’m playing a humanoid killing machine in Guardians of the Galaxy.
GB: I’m playing a villain in Gods of Egypt. I have a few movies coming up.
CF: I’m thinking about getting a cat. Don’t know if I will.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks) is RATED PG; Running time: 105 minutes.
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (OK) and E (excellent), How To Train Your Dragon 2 gets an O (OK).