Sequels. They suck.
At least, that's the rule of thumb. A bad sequel seems to detract from the original rather than adding something to it. Take the Rocky sequels. Please, take them.
Or imagine a sequel for Field of Dreams. Shoeless Joe and his pals, who are actually zombies, declare war on the Heartland, terrorizing cornfields everywhere. Spoiler alert: In a heart-wrenching conclusion, Ray’s dad says, “Kid, you are such a loser. I never loved you, and you throw like a girl.”
Or Titanic II, in which Rose, regretting her decision to toss the Star of the Ocean overboard, takes up deep sea diving and falls in love with her instructor Maurice. Sadly, Maurice is only after the jewel, and—84 years after the big boat sank—Rose joins Jack’s ghost in the icy north Atlantic. Jack: "Maurice? Really, Rose? You fell for a guy named Maurice?"
Yes, sequels suck. But there are a few shining exceptions to the rule, and How to Train Your Dragon 2—from Dreamworks Animation—is one of those!
the voice of Hiccup
You have to understand that I love-love-love the first movie. I love both the narrative voice of the story and also the narrator's voice—in this case, Jay Bachurel, the voice talent for the main character, Hiccup.
In the first movie, set in a wild world of Vikings and dragons, Hiccup aspires to be a dragon slayer like his father Stoick, the tribal chief. But when he befriends a dragon named Toothless, he has a change of heart and teaches his tribe to love dragons and to train them as mounts.
In the sequel, Hiccup is again our narrator: "This is Berk. The best kept secret this side of, well, anywhere. Granted, it may not look like much, but this wet heap of rock packs more than a few surprises." It certainly is a surprise when Hiccup and Toothless stumble upon an ice cave that holds many mysteries. They soon discover that Berk faces a horrific new threat to their way of life and, in fact, a threat to all the dragons.
Described in these bare-boned terms, it may sound like just another please-God-no sequel. Bear in mind I am biting my tongue to keep from giving anything away. Trust me. Dragon II is charming and beautiful and poignant. Some people are even saying it's better than the original.
I can only tell you this: if you loved How to Train Your Dragon, I think you will love this sequel as well. Just don't forget to take some tissues. . . . Just sayin'.
These delightful movies are based on a series of books by Cressida Cowell.
Series. That's a great word. I guess when a sequel actually works, it becomes a series! And I understand there is to be a third movie in this series.