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'How to Train Your Dragon 2' surpasses original

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How to Train Your Dragon 2

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The general rule of thumb regarding movie sequels is that they are never as good as the original. However, there is the very rare occasion when a sequel surpasses its predecessor. That occurrence happens today, June 13 with the release of "How to Train Your Dragon 2."

The new movie takes place five years after the events of the first. The Island of Berk now lives in harmony with the dragons and they are part of their everyday lives thanks to Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon, Toothless. Hiccup's biggest concern now is how he will become leader one day as his father, Stoick (Gerard Butler) would like. He soon wishes that was his only problem after he learns the existence of Drago, a Viking who is building a dragon army and threatens the lives of everyone and everything Hiccup holds dear.

It's been a couple of years since DreamWorks Animation put out a movie worth talking about. Anyone remember "Turbo" from last year? "How to Train Your Dragon" was one of the best to come from the studio. It told an new kind of story and made great use of 3D effects, which were still gaining momentum at the time. The 3D in this new movie is probably the best seen all year. It is crisp and well thought out. You're right there with the dragon riders as the fly through the air to the point where Toothless practically flies through the movie theater. There are not too many 3D movies that are worth the extra money, but "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is worthy every penny.

It's refreshing to see how hard the animators worked on the characters. Everyone does look five years older. Hiccup is no longer a teenager, he is now a young man. Astrid (America Ferrera) also shows her maturity. It is something that could have been overlooked, but wasn't. You practically never see a character go through two completely different character arcs in separate movies, but Hiccup goes through a heck of a one in "How to Train Your Dragon 2." The story is no holds barred as the stakes are raised higher than any dragon has ever flown.

Last month was just awful for movies in general and there was no worthy family movies during that time. "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is not only the best family movie of 2014, but it is a movie anyone can really enjoy, a date night, a group of friends going to the movies, it is not the wrong choice for any group. It's rated PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor.

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