With the exception of the Toy Story films, the Dark Knight and a few others, the sequel never lives up to the hype of the first film. And going to review this film, especially considering how good the first film was, I was afraid that this same thing was going to happen. But fortuantely, even though the first film is probably better, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is not far behind, and I was relieved that it was no where near the disappointment I feared it would be.
The story picks up five years after the end of the first one, with dragons fully integrated into life on the island of Berk. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) has been asked by his father (Gerard Butler) to take over as chief of the village, even though he doesn't want to as he is still trying to 'find out who he really is'. The film is a little too sentimental in places, with a lot of talk about the need to search inside yourself and believing in yourself and all that sort of stuff. Although it is a children's film so you can't expect the target audience to pick up on anything too subtle. The film eventually progresses with Hiccup and his dragon, Toothless, stumbling across a dragon sanctuary and the mystery Dragon Rider, which eventually comes under attack from the bad guy of the film who wants to build a dragon army, and it climaxes with Hiccup and the other town folk helping to fight him off. A good old-fashioned good vs. evil battle, with explosions and fighting and everything you would expect from a film whose main characters can breathe fire. The six year-old child in me loved it. And so did the 21 year-old me as well come to think of it.
In the main, the dialogue and chemistry between the character's was very funny in parts, even in the most serious parts of the film. But unfortunately it was a little forced at times, especially during the aforementioned sentimental moments.
The stars of the show, predictably, were the dragons. The animation of their movements has only improved from the last film, and even though they can't speak, their interaction with the human characters, and with each other, is hilarious at times. There's even times when two of the characters are talking, but no one is listening to them because of the fun going on between the dragons behind them, like bored children waiting for their parents to finish talking. This is why this film can be enjoyed by everyone, from parents to children, and even college students like me in between, because physical comedy, when done well, is hilarious no matter what age you are.
There are more thought-provoking and complex films out there at the moment, but you'd be hard-pushed to find a film more enjoyable than this.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is out in Ireland on June 27th.