Saw How To Train Your Dragon 2 this afternoon, and if you enjoyed the first movie from Dreamworks Animation Studios featuring Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless and the rest of the viking residents of the island village of Berk, the sequel is actually as good if not better.
Dreamworks Animation is pretty hit and miss, and while the Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar franchises have done very well over the 20 year history of the studio, recent outings like Rise of the Guardians, The Croods, Turbo and Mr. Peabody And Sherman were mixed outings at best. Going back to Berk was the best idea the studio has had in a while.
As the movie opens we find Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) five years older, now twenty and more confident in his skill as a dragon rider, eager to explore the world with Toothless, his dragon companion. Berk's the home to a dragon riding academy that's cranking out one solid air force, and he's still dating Astrid (America Ferrera) and hanging out with his friends. The loss of his right foot in the climactic battle of the first movie hasn't slowed him down a step (thanks to a well-designed replacement as Hiccup is still a pretty sly engineer) and his father, village chief Stoick (Gerard Butler), wants to groom him for taking over as his successor.
All that runs into cold reality when the crew happens upon Eren, (Kit Harrington) a dragon trapper who wants to bag Toothless and the rest for his boss, Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou) who has also figured out how to control dragons and would very much like Hiccup and the dragons of Berk to join him...or else. Drago knows an awful lot about dragons and Hiccup and his friends have their hands full this time.
Further complicating issues is the appearance of Valka (Cate Blanchett, yay!) another mysterious dragon rider who warns our young hero about Drago (she has a connection to Hiccup that you'll probably guess pretty early on) and she sets up a pivotal point in the film where Hiccup has to make some hard choices about what kind of man he'll become. Hiccup's got commitment issues and doesn't want to be tied down to
his dad because he feels he's not good enough to fill his shoes.
It's up to Hiccup and Toothless to figure out how to save Berk once again, and the movie has a number of pretty heartwarming and exciting moments. The film itself is impressively pretty, with awesome flight sequences and plenty of action and laughs.
I enjoyed it, it's worth a matinee at least, so give it a test flight.