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The original How to Train Your Dragon is a favorite of mine. It’s fun, it has great animation, and it suggests that fear need not be our immediate reaction to that which is different.

This second installment retains the sense of humor and high-flying fun, and the animation is lovely. There is also an added sense of wonder at the beauty of creation, even though the “creations” in this case are mythical creatures.

Hiccup, a young man who may become chief of his Viking village, isn’t sure just what he is meant to do with his life. He knows he is a dragon-rider and an explorer, but he’s not sure he is leader material.

A new threat to the village and its dragon friends’ safety has emerged, and Hiccup is caught between the need to protect the vulnerable and his desire for peace. This situation makes it clear that power, and even nature itself, can be used for good or for evil.

Unfortunately it all leads up to a typical summer-movie battle, one that has been made less interesting by overuse in a string of superhero movies.

Still, this exciting movie is great summer entertainment for older children, with the added attraction of some food for thought. (DreamWorks)

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