Back in 1995 I was introduced to the animated motion picture “Toy Story”, and I absolutely loved it, even to this day I consider it to be one of my favorite movies. Then the sequel came out in 1999, and I was actually very hesitant at first, thinking it could never live up to the brilliance of the first film. Low and behold, “Toy Story 2” was just as good, if not better then the first film. That was an unforgettable experience which taught me to put a little more faith in movie sequels. Well, once again I had the exact same experience. The 2010 motion picture “How to Train your Dragon” surpassed my small expectations and stands as one of my favorite animated movies of all time, right up there with the “Toy Story” movies. Once again, I doubted that a sequel could possibly match the first film, but surprise, surprise, “How to Train your Dragon 2” not only lives up to the first, in many ways it’s even better.
Instead of repeating the first movie’s plot again, it continues the story further, like a good sequel should. The characters are stronger than before, the relationships are deeper than before, the drama is played up a lot more and the story is a lot more complicated than before. Five years have past sense the events of the first movie, the dragon riders are now older, more mature and dragons live amongst Vikings in peace. But a new enemy is plotting to invade with an army of dragons that he controls. Now it’s up to our young hero’s to stop him but along the way, our lead hero named Hiccup has an unexpected reunion with his mother who was presumed to be dead. The story obviously gets a lot deeper than this but I’m not going to spoil anything else. Let’s just say from that point on there’s lots of excitement, lots of emotional moments, lots of really dark moments but there’s also just enough comedy and joyful moments to help balance everything out.
The cinematography and especially the animation look fantastic, I mean, wow, this is an awesome looking movie. Both the battle scenes and the flight scenes are riveting spectacles, as you’d expect. However, the thing I really love about this movie is how the characters have grown and matured from the first film. Hiccups relation with his pet dragon Toothless is so much stronger and more interesting, as is his relationship with his father, his girl friend and his mother. Every emotion in this movie feels genuine and whenever something directly effects the characters joyfully or tragically, you just feel the impact it leaves on them. To sum things up, it’s everything you’d want to see in a good sequel, it’s more emotional, it’s more exciting and it progresses both the story and characters to excellent new heights. I give “How to Train your Dragon 2” 5 stars out of 5.