In Hollywood, it's really, really hard to get a sequel to live up to a blockbuster first film in a series.
Dreamworks doesn't seem to know that. In fact, I'd venture to say Dreamworks knows just about nothing regarding how to make a bad animated film. They're horrible at bad films. Really really.
But I digress. Let me first say that it's rare that my migraine-prone hubby wants to see a film in 3D ... but he said we were going to see it in 3D, and he didn't care.
So. Worth. It.
Dragon 2 didn't throw stuff at the screen just because they could. The 3D effects were integrated very nicely into the storyline, while adding a few cool treats for 3D viewers. Hiccup and Toothless have grown, and Hiccup is dealing with some more grown-up issues in this film, but he's still Hiccup, and it's still a joy to watch him fly Toothless. Toothless. Did I mention Toothless? I loved the dynamic between these characters in the first film, and that between Hiccup and his dragon-riding friends. You can't have too much of a good thing, and there's more of that in this film. I laughed out loud in several places.
I have only one knock on this film, and that is its length. It's too short ... and not because I was having so much fun with it. I did feel a little rushed from one plot point to the next, and there is a very serious, bring-your-tissues moment that needed more screen time to sink in. While I understand that there are kids watching the film, and you don't want it to be too "heavy," I was still sniffling by the time the action went on to the next thing, and found myself thinking, "Hey, wait! Back up! I'm not done crying yet!" I felt a little cheated out of that moment.
Otherwise, it feels like a return visit to people you love, in order to see what they're up to now. We have the same characters, older now, and a few new faces, including a character voiced by Game of Thrones star Kit Harington. If you liked How to Train Your Dragon, you're going to adore the sequel. Way to go, Dreamworks. We had a ball with this movie, and I think you will, too.
SCORE: 4 of 5 stars