06/14/2014 09:43 pm ET Updated Aug 15, 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2 Outdoes the Original

One of the most popular movies of 2010 was the animated movie How To Train Your Dragon. Now four years later we get the sequel How To Train Your Dragon 2. As most people know the general rule is that sequels are not as well made or as interesting as the originals. That is not the case here. Dragon 2 is as good or better than the original film. In short it is totally and wondrously enjoyable.

In this new movie the attention is still focused on Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless. He learns of a faraway land ruled by a man named Drago (Djimon Hounsou) who plans to capture all the dragons he can. Hiccup has learned how to make dragons friends to mankind and does not want anyone enslaving them. He bids his father Stoick (Gerard Butler) good-bye and goes out to find Drago. He is accompanied by his girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera).

On this trip he finds his mother Valka (Cate Blanchett). Hiccup thought she was dead but she has spent her life caring for dragons. They are reunited and she joins Hiccup in his plan to convince Drago that dragons can be friendly.

This is the basic plot of the movie but with a lot more characters and interesting events. Hiccup dominates but you can watch the movie just for the supporting characters and still have a great time. This probably means you will want to watch it more than once just to get all the entertainment that is offered.

It is not just the story of the movie that is good; it is the animation which is amazing. Audiences have become jaundiced to the spectacle that great animation brings but in Dragon 2 the visuals are breathtaking. Hiccup's world and the world of dragons comes alive to you. If you watch it in 3-D it becomes even more alive.

Jon Powell's musical score is also a bonus. It stirs the spirit and lifts the soul as the music sweeps and swells. But this score is also enchanting in the quieter moments of the film when it is hushed and haunting.

The voice talent is also to be commended as the voices perfectly match the characters with Baruchel and Blanchett leading the way. Animated films are always more enjoyable when the voice talent has been carefully cast.

The film is rated PG for animated violence and some adult themes. The movie also includes the most traumatic death of an animated character since Bambi's mother died.

Dragon 2 is full of fun and family values. It is a movie to be seen once and then once more. When awards are handed out next year it should lead the pack of animated films gathering nominations.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a fun filled fantasy that takes its audience away to another world and another time. It is a sequel that takes the original story to a higher level and thrills and fills the audience with its entertainment value.

I scored How To Train Your Dragon 2 a tamed 8 out of 10.

-- Jackie K. Cooper