Can sequels ever be better than the original??
How to Train your Dragon 2 has proved they can, what an experience...
I was lucky enough to see this on Fathers Day, when they put it on as a special before it came out properly and as my Dad is the world biggest HTTYD fan, how could I not take him.
I on the other hand missed the previews which felt like a year ago, and ended up watching it when Planet of the Apes sold out.
The sequel picks up five years after the events of the first film on the Island of Berk. Every Viking now has their own dragon which are now used for dragon race competitions (Quidditch apparently?!). Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) however, prefers to investigate new lands and find new worlds with his trusty sidekick, Toothless. On their latest adventure, Hiccup and Toothless stumble across a gang of Dragon hunters led by Eret (Kit Harrington) who are gathering dragons for the mysterious Drago (Djimon Hounsou). So now it's up to Hiccup and his barrage of hapless friends (and their dragons) to keep their friends and their home safe.
What a film! This just goes above and beyond the first one, for starters ageing the characters (which is a rarity in animation) which gives Hiccup a bit more confidence and bravery while still maintaining his geeky lovable charm. The visuals are amazing, the dragon flying scenes in 3D had you holding onto your chair. The detail is impeccable as with the original, I particularly like an early part in the film where Hiccup and Astrid are talking and in the background there is a whole other story happening with their dragons, plus the grass and their hair are all blowing in the wind and each leaf on the tree I moving in it's own way. It's one of those film where you will spot something new every time you watch it.
Honestly, the first half of HTTYD2 really got on my nerves. How much dialogue does a film need? The reveal of Hiccup's mum was ruined for me because it was just there in the very first trailer. Why?! Honestly Dreamworks, you could have given us a trailer where nothing at all happens, just Toothless being a derp, and you would still have the same audience.
During the reunion scenes, there was so much repeated dialogue that I actually stopped listening all together and had much more fun watching Toothless in the background, playing chase with another dragon. Hiccup's mum had done a whole speech and I didn't listen to a word.
The story is great (usually a downfall of sequels) and there is a twist which keeps it interesting. There are also some quite adult topics addressed which steps it up again from the original.
The supporting characters that I loved in the first one are given more opportunity to develop in this outing. However, all credit has to go to Toothless, as the star of the show. The expressions, reactions and all around lovableness has proved successful once again, he steals every scene that he is in (even when he isn't the main focus, see above) and the bond between him and Hiccup is still as epic as it was in the first one.
Enough ranting from me though, because the second half of the film was absolutely fantastic. It was like a switch went off and the film burst into life. The action was better, the 3D was actually utilised, and we lost the boring dialogue. I really want to point out though that this isn't suitable for young children. Two scenes in particular come to mind, one really quite scary, and another absolutely heartbreaking. One small child begged to leave because he was so distraught.
If you liked/loved the first film, make sure you see this, don't be put off by the fact that it is a sequel as I think for sure that it is better than the first!
Taken as a whole, I think the first was the best, but I would watch this again and again for the second half alone (and maybe Toothless because he's such a cutie)