The new trend with animated movies is just a little too predictable. If a movie does really well, we all automatically assume (and in most cases, we do so correctly) that it will get a sequel. I guess we can blame the Toy Story and Shrek franchises for paving the way. The next film to give us second dose is How to Train Your Dragon. The film was one of the first features to really show off what 3D animation could be like, and oh yeah, it was a good movie too. It raked in over $200 million in the U.S. alone, so of course DreamWorks is going to milk the concept for all it’s worth.
The good news is that most of the original cast will be returning for round two, including Jay Baruchel as the lovable hero, Hiccup. Also returning are a few funny people: Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Kristen Wiig. America Ferrara will lend her voice again as well, but that’s not all that exciting; she was pretty vanilla in the first one. Missing – rather conspicuously – from the list is Gerard Butler who voiced Hiccup’s overbearing and constantly disappointed father. His role was a conflict that was resolved in the first film, so maybe his absence won’t be that big of a deal.
The real concern is that the movie doesn’t really need a sequel (not that most of them ever do). It was a beautiful little story about looking beyond first impressions (with dragons and fire!) and I fear that another story would just be a fun little romp with the same characters but none of the depth. Yes, the visuals were stunning and the characters were lovable, and I’m sure we’ll see more of that good stuff in the sequel, but have we learned nothing from the Shrek movies? We really need to stop binging on our favorite movie characters - are the originals not enough? They put these things on DVD for a reason, people.
Before I let my preemptive disappointment run amuck, there is one little nugget of hope. Chris Sanders, who wrote and directed the first film, will be back for the second installment. While this is no guarantee, he’s also got a seven other books from Cressida Cowell (who wrote the original book that How to Train Your Dragon is based off of) to choose from as a framework, including one written from Toothless the dragon’s perspective. We’ll see how Dragon Part II turns out, but I’m not holding my breath.