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'Dragon 2' overflows with humor and heart

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How to Train Your Dragon 2

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It's been 5 years since Hiccup met Toothless, saved the dragons, and changed the hearts of the people of Berk. Not only has Berk embraced dragons, but they have remade Berk to include them in their daily lives. Peace reins in Brek. Vikings and dragons live and thrive as friends and family, until dragon hunters threaten their home. Searching for his place in life, Hiccup takes it on himself to protect his home and friends by confronting their new enemies. When Hiccup falls into the hands of a mysterious dragon master, his entire world is turned upside down, as an old enemy seeks to destroy Berk and to rule the world's dragons.

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Directed and co-written by Dean Deblois, also known for his work on the first "How To Train Your Dragon" and "Lilo and Stitch," "How To Train Your Dragon 2" is a broader and more fleshed out journey into a world of dragons, vikings, and captivating visuals. While the majority of the film takes place in flight, between the various forms, designs, and abilities of the dragons and vikings, there's is plenty to see. The animation and interactions do much to make this film a success, showing the affection, familiarity, or distain exhibited by the characters throughout the film. Despite the playful and light hearted nature of the film, it doesn't shy away from tragedy, handling it in surprisingly tasteful and interesting ways. Tragedy inevitably turns into a transformative event, solidifying the audience's sympathy for the film's protagonists. The animation and performances were so powerful, that it is easy to forget that your watching a computer generated world. Jay Baruchel reprises his role as Hiccup and America Ferrera reprises her role as Astrid, the future Mrs. Hiccup. Cate Blanchett joins the cast as the voice of the mysterious dragon master (Valka), who turns the world of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" on its ear. Dragon 2 is a fun, fast, ball of flaming animation, well worth the time and the price of admission.

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