Verdict: 4.5 / 5
With the original cast and director, the original styling and the same good family content, complementing an original storyline, this beautiful and hilarious adventure is not “the best thing since Frozen”; it’s even better.
The story kicks off five years after the end of the first film. Life on the Island of Berk is magical, with vikings and dragons now enjoying living and playing in harmony. Hiccup and Astrid, happily in love, spend their time flying over land and sea to explore and map more of the world. Hiccup still rides his powerful yet adorable night-fury, Toothless, and they are inseparable. The excitement of pioneering new land unfortunately, as always, has a downside. One day they happen upon a group of ships and find themselves on the verge of new war. The enemy is an evil dragon rider, who captures and controls dragons by force.
The father and chief, Stoick, hears of this and puts a lock down on the village. Stoick reveals some interesting untold history between himself, Hiccups mom and Drago; the new mysterious rider with dragon like powers. But a few rules didn’t stop Hiccup and Toothless before, and this time is no different as they fly off to meet with Drago. The two of them find that there is a fine line between starting and preventing a new feud.
There is such a deep love that emerges between parent and child, dragon and human, and the well-versed portrayal of these leaves you incredibly connected. If you remember, Hiccup only has one leg and Toothless only has one fin, but that doesn’t stop them, as they trust and communicate with an almost telepathic ability. There are many occasions where you can’t help but burst with laugher as there is so much playful fun in the background between the voiceless dragons. The characters of each come out so well in their facial expressions, cat and dog-like body movements and well done comical silliness. There are countless moments where you can no longer mask a huge grin and some where you have to wipe some tears away. This does leave heart-felt moments in the film where the kids might get bored, as there are two or three deep conversations, but these are mandatory for forming the genuine heart-strings which are the strength of the storyline. The other strength of course is the insanely cool, epic, new kind of ancient dragon.
Generally speaking sequels are a gamble, for viewers and producers. Animated sequels are often blatant money making machines, or futile attempts at reliving some magic. There have been some bad ones (Lion King, Shrek, Cars) but there have been some good ones like Toy Story and Despicable Me, but HTTYD-2 is simply remarkable. This leaves one hoping that there is not a third movie, because how could they possibly improve on this one?
Expect great 3D content, entertained adults and kids, awkward (but cute) Gerard Butler singing and definitely expect the spike in the sale of dragon toys, coloring books, and HTTYD pencil cases, not to mention millions of kids asking their parents for a pet dragon for Christmas.