After watching, and ridiculously enjoying, How to Train Your Dragon (2010) I remember hoping that there would be a sequel. Now, sequels are not usually done well (think of pretty much any sequel), and can often make you regret wanting such a thing so badly in the first place (i.e. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason). It is rare, but sometimes, a sequel can be just as entertaining and imaginative as the original; such is the case for How to Train Your Dragon 2.
It has been five years since we last saw Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), and his dragon Toothless, in the viking village of Berk. In that time, the village has welcomed dragons into the mix of everyday life. Everyone has a dragon and the town basically functions around them. We see that the villagers have created innovative ways to “dragon-proof” pretty much any area (e.g. in case of accidental fire). The Berk townsfolk also participate in literal dragon races that include activity courses such as collecting the most sheep. All in all, Berk is a lively town that has fully accepted the formerly feared dragons into their daily life. Hiccup, while happy that the village has become so open-minded, also feels a bit restricted by the day-to-day routine. Hiccup’s father, Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), wants Hiccup to eventually become the next Chief of Berk but Hiccup doesn’t want that. He wants to explore anything and everything beyond the village perimeters. As the viewer, we already know such wanderlust has inherent pros and cons.
What makes How To Train Your Dragon 2 so good was that it didn’t try to be as good as the original. Wait, that almost makes it sound bad, but it’s not. The sequel expanded existing characters, as well as created new intriguing ones, and generated a storyline that is exciting, a little sad, and kinda scary (as in “oh no!” scary). More importantly, they created a story that is extremely funny. Case in point, I am certain my plus one for the screening was laughing the loudest and hardest than any other person in the movie theatre that day. It also helped that the dragons, especially Toothless, have to be the cutest things ever to grace an animated feature film in recent history. Anytime they were on screen, everyone appeared to be giggling with glee.
I should mention that I saw this film in 3D and normally, because I am what the youngin’s would call “an old,” I would say 3D doesn’t matter too much. However, I really enjoyed the 3D experience for How to Train Your Dragon 2. For one, I barely noticed that I had 3D glasses on which tells me that the 3D was done right. The film did not rely on the usual 3D gimmicks (unnecessary winged insects or birds fluttering about or objects being thrown towards the audience’s face) in order to classify themselves as a 3D feature. Instead, they used 3D to highlight and enhance the already vibrant and impressive animation.
It is a strange thing to say but…. I was right to hope for a sequel. How to Train Your Dragon 2 proved to be as good as the original and also managed to delight me and my plus one until well after the end credits rolled… is it weird that I strongly believe dragons are real and want one to be my best friend?
Looks up village of Berk on Google maps
How to Train Your Dragon 2 opens Friday, June 13th in Vancouver.