If you think that the first installment of How To Train Your Dragon was good wait till you see the latest one. The times and attitude of the Vikings have changed dramatically towards Dragons. Now every Viking has a pet dragon and few have more than one. They are co-existing and even playing sport together. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) however is still in the lookout for new adventures and it his unquenchable thirst which leads him to a dramatic meeting with his long lost mother Valka (Cate Blanchet). Valka has been all these years maintaining a safe heaven for dragons and nursing the injured back to health. She for once has a world of knowledge to share with her son who is just like her but their sweet reunion is brutally brought to a sudden and sad end by Drago Bloodfist (Djimon Hounsou).
Drago is building himself a dragon army and controls an Alpha Dragon which works as the apex of all dragons and controls every dragon that comes in its contact. Hiccup and Toothless aided by their families and a host of other characters must now fight Drago and his vast dragon army to maintain the balance and the hard earned peace between the two species. The fight however turns out to be a tad bit more difficult for Toothless who finds himself enslaved by the Alpha and commits a horrendous crime under its influence. Will Hiccup and Toothless win in the end? What is it that Toothless does? And above all how does Toothless manage to get out of the clasp of the Alpha?
The film successfully recreates the magic of the first installment with new and colorful characters added to the narrative. If the first film was about the humans understanding the dragons, this one is about the humans and dragons working in union to solve a common problem. The fact that the threat comes in from a human who is blinded by his hate and high sightedness only makes the tale more endearing. The track between Hiccup and Valka is beautifully done. The film also serves a vehicle to demonstrate Hiccup’s coming of the age. The animation of the film is life like. I found a unique characteristic to the quality of the animation which I only found previously in Hayao Miyazaki’s classics like Spirited Away and even Howl’s Moving Castle.
I would sight two sequences in the film which successfully prove my point. There is a scene early on were Hiccup and Astrid are conversing with each other while Toothless and a Natter are busy in their own scheme of things. If one looks closely, the histrionics of the two dragons are enough to make you roll out with laughter. But that track happens in the background with the two characters conversing in the fore ground. Another similar sequence happens when Hiccup is shown around the place by Valka where they are conversing while Toothless gets probed by the other dragons rather rudely in the background. These scenes just go on to show the amount of care and thoughtfulness that went into the animation and go down a long way into making the film a much superior viewing experience.
The action and the visual wizardry only add to the overall likeability of the film. Toothless is super cute and every scene that he is apart off, will force you to give him an extra bit of interest and view just for the little tricks that he keeps on playing with himself and the others. Hiccup is his usual self and Jay Baruchel voices him with complete control. The character of Drago is well fleshed out and with enough reasons given to make him do what he was doing, his sinister acts become even more effective. Cate Blanchett’s Valka is another huge plus for the film.
Overall, How To Train Your Dragon 2 brings the same material that it had offered previously but with renewed energy, flair and creativity. It could be easily sighted as one of the best animated films of the year so far. Its humane take on a seemingly fantasized situation will go down wonderfully with the masses. This is one film for one and all and I dare say that everyone will love it to the core.