Whenever I watch a sequel to a film that I haven’t seen, my main criteria for review is if it makes me want to go and watch the original film after watching the sequel. Not having watched the original “How to Train Your Dragon,” I wasn’t familiar at all with the characters or story and I watched the sequel with a totally blank slate. So was I impressed enough to go and seek out the original?
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” begins in a world where Vikings and dragons are friends. They work together, play together and even live together. They also hold races where Vikings ride the dragons and try to trap as many sheep as possible. This is where the film truly shines. The aerial scenes are impressive and it was fun to watch the dragons maneuver effortlessly through the sky. But the characters must also have heart, and I instantly became a fan of Hiccup. I don’t know what kind of character he was in the first film, but I loved his confidence and bravery in this one, despite his meek build and demeanor. The fact that he’s voiced by the rail thin Jay Baruchel added to his character’s dichotomy. And his dragon Toothless is also lovable, without uttering a single word. He’s loyal, playful and protective, just like man’s best friend.
The story isn’t anything groundbreaking, but was effective nonetheless. Hiccup and Toothless discover a new land where they learn that an evil hunter is capturing all the dragons in the world. There’s even a nice family twist that adds some depth to the plot. The action scenes are choreographed nicely and the animation is well done. I especially loved it whenever you could see hundreds of dragons flying through the air either in battle or just to be playful.
I enjoyed “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and yes, I will now go look for the original film so I can watch that too.