Director: Dean DeBlois
Voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, America Ferrera, Kristen Wiig
The Indian Express rating: ***1/2
The prequel that came out four years ago was a runaway success. So the temptation to follow up the act was always around. Repeat director DeBlois and repeat cast of Baruchel, Butler and Ferrera place hardly a foot wrong in stepping up this Vikings and Dragons story. Hiccup (Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless share an equally charming and effortless friendship, with the fire-breathing creature now more expressive than ever. The story soars and the Vikings go further and higher to newer and well-imagined lands with details doing justice to the film’s 3D branding, more characters come in, including strong women roles, and the film again packs in a fair amount of surprisingly tender scenes and touches. It doesn’t even have to throw in a joke, so smooth does this tale run. The scene where a masked creature in blue glides into view over clouds is breathtaking.
However, the temptation of a follow-up act also has its price: it leaves one greedy. So while How To.. welcomingly did away with villains, dealing instead with man’s own prejudices and fears, Part 2 packs in long battles and giant monsters as good as any, though surprisingly not an impressive enough bad guy. And it leaves scope for a third outing.
Still, it is heartwarming when Hiccup’s father Stoick (Butler) and a certain Valka (Blanchett) break into “our song”, first humming it and then skipping and dancing to it. It’s scenes such as these and between the dragons that are unfailingly agile and arresting as they play with and around each other that leave this DisneyWorks animation still a cut above the rest.