Animated dragon 
sequel hits the hot spot

'How to Train Your Dragon 2'. PA Photo/DreamWorks Animation.
'How to Train Your Dragon 2'. PA Photo/DreamWorks Animation.

Based on the book by Cressida Cowell, the 2010 computer-animated adventure ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ soared tantalisingly close to perfection.

The sequel, directed by Dean DeBlois, expands the narrative arcs of the characters, testing their mettle in the aftermath of tragedy and conflict.

Five years have passed since Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) befriended Toothless and the inhabitants of the village of Berk now live in harmony with the dragons.

In almost every aspect, ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ matches its polished predecessor... except one. The addition of Oscar winner Blanchett to the vocal fold is a calamitous misjudgement. From the outset, the Australian actress is engaged in a futile tug-of-war with her Scottish accent. Her verbal strangulations are horribly distracting and undermine some of the film’s most emotionally charged moments of reconciliation and remembrance.

For his part, writer-director DeBlois charts a breathless course between drama, action and comedy. Flying sequences deliver a vertiginous thrill, especially in 3D. Blanchett aside, lightning nearly strikes twice.