How to Train Your Dragon 2 picks up a few years from where the previous movie ended. If you haven’t seen the first part, let me bring you to speed: Hiccup is the son of Viking clan chief; a clan where people consider dragons their vicious enemies. He discovers that contrary to popular belief, dragons can be befriended and trained. This leads him to take up a mission to create a peaceful co-existence between humans and dragons. The story continues in part two, where Hiccup and his friends have all grown up and Berk (the Viking town where the story is centered) is now a place where people have learnt to live with dragons and even created a game involving dragons that seems suspiciously similar to Quidditch (with dragons replacing flying brooms). Hiccup has grown into an explorer who enjoys his wild trips with his dragon Toothless and shows no interest in taking over his father’s position as the clan chief. On his adventures he discovers a cave full of dragons hiding from a dragon hunter who goes by the name Drago Bloodfist. Hiccup once again sets out on a journey to prove that he can maintain the peace between humans and dragons.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a great summer flick that is a winner in the true sense. It helms a strong script that binds the movie into the world of dragons created by the previous movie and several short films. It builds up a strong connection that you feel while watching the movie. There’s humor, action, romance and beautiful visuals, all in a measure that doesn’t overwhelm. Speaking of the visuals, the 3D is something that you might want to give a miss; I got to see the RealD-3D version and there wasn’t much that impressed me (not to mention how dark it becomes once you put on those glasses...). On the brighter side, the movie has new dragons! We love to watch Toothless fly with all his fury, but the game gets more interesting when the stakes are higher. And there is definitely a lot on table when it comes to the dragons. They are bigger, fiercer and more awesome!
The movie retains most of its cast with a few new voices. Gerard Butler and Jay Baruchel reprise the roles of Stoic and Hiccup, the father-son duo, along with a cast including Craig Fergusson who plays the cranky Gobber and America Ferrera playing Astrid. Lending their voices to new characters are Kate Blanchett, Djimon Hounsou and Kit Harington. To avoid spoilers, I won’t describe the new characters, but it would be fair to say that each character fits perfectly in the movie’s picture and is meticulously portrayed by the actors. Dean DeBlois, who shares the credit for direction and story of the first part, outperforms himself with the sequel. The soundtrack is reminiscent of the music from the first part and blends in quite well with the story. This pretty much is the complete package! 2014 has been the year of some great animated movies such as The Lego Movie and Frozen. With early comparisons to the records set by Frozen, it would be fun to see if HTTYD2 breaks them.
So is How to Train Your Dragon 2 better than its predecessor? Well, most people might say so. What I would like to mention is that it maintains the essence of the franchise in all its glory. The best part about it is that it stays true to the title. The movie is all about human-dragon relationship and not a vain attempt to simply carry forward the story in a random direction. This is a true test for how well has Hiccup “trained his dragon”. It is all about loyalty, courage, friendship and love. The movie is sure to hit a special score with pet lovers. For everyone else, no matter how old you are, this movie has something for you. So get your saddles and prepare for a great ride.