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'How to Train Your Dragon 2' takes Hiccup and Toothless on a poignant journey

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How to Train Your Dragon 2

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Find your dragon and fellow dragon lovers and take a ride to Berk in this charming though bittersweet coming-of-age story, "How to Train Your Dragon 2." DreamWorks has made a worth sequel and expanded its dragon universe.

Toothless won't be battling dragon prejudice in the village of Berk; if you've followed DreamWorks Dragons, seasons 1 and 2, you'll already know that Berk has settle into a fantastic life of living with dragons.

That's a long way from the 2010 "How to Train Your Dragon" that saw the skinny, awkward Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) trying to make his father, Stoick (Gerard Butler), proud by learning how to kill a dragon while he was secretly learning how to love and train his first dragon, Toothless, a rare Night Fury.

With those big green eyes, and cat-like ways, it was hard not to fall in love with Toothless, particularly since an injury caused by one of Hiccup's inventions rendered him crippled and unable to fly without a Hiccup-built solution. Eventually, Hiccup and Toothless won over Astrid and their friends who by saving Hiccup's father and his close friend Gobber (Craig Ferguson), the blacksmith, brought an end to the Berk war against dragons. Unfortunately, although Toothless saved Hiccup from death and Berk from Red Death, Hiccup lost part of his left leg.

While we were waiting for "How to Train Your Dragon 2," life on Berk wasn't exactly standing still. The TV series, DreamWorks Dragons Season 1, "Riders of Berk," showed the villagers of Berk getting used to living with dragons. Gobber had to find a new trade since killing dragons wasn't the focus of village life any more. Stoick eventually found his own dragon.

Not everyone was happy with the new arrangements, including Mildew (Stephen Root), an old man whose main companions were sheep. On the outside, were other dangers: Alvin the Treacherous (Mark Hamill) and his band of Outkasts. Alvin wanted to learn more about dragons and the main dragon antagonist was Whispering Death.

By the second season, DreamWorks Dragons became "Defenders of Berk" and the people of Berk had to defend themselves against new dragons as well as Mildew, Alvin and Dagur the Deranged (David Faustino). Dagur the Deranged was introduced in the first season, but returned in Season 2 having deposed of his father. Now he plots against Berk with Alvin and Mildew. Dagur wants to kill the dragons; Alvin wants to unlock the secrets of dragon training.

The new movie "How to Train Your Dragon 2" comes some time after the "Defenders of Berk" and five years after the first movie. Hiccup and Astrid are a couple. Snotlout (Jonah Hill) and Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) vie for the affections of Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig). On Berk they now have a game that somewhat resembles Quidditch but on dragons instead of brooms.

DreamWorks Dragons' villains Alvin, Dagur and Mildew don't appear in "How to Train Your Dragon 2." Instead, we have a new villain, Drago (Djimon Hounsou) and a new development. While Hiccup is, like many late teen or early twenty-somethings, searching for his identity, he finds his mother, Valka (Cate Blanchett). That's not a spoiler if you saw the trailers and listened to news from San Diego Comic-con 2013.

Again, there's a war brewing, but this time between the evil Drago who believes in harsh training techniques that enslaves the dragons against the dragon riders of Berk and the dragons who have been under the benevolent protection of Valka and her alpha dragon the Bewilderbeast.

We've had Red Death, Whispering Death and Screaming Death, but here, we'll have the death of a beloved character and a challenge for Hiccup whose father has already offered him the position of chief.

"How to Train Your Dragon 2" opens officially 13 June 2014. Go see it with your best dragon friends.

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