A cartoon sequel goes way darker
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Dreamworks animation made its name, and its billions, with snazzy cartoon vaudeville: the tummlers of Shrek, Madagascar and The Croods. In this anything-for-a-laugh menagerie, 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon stood out for its sweetness and seriousness. The story of the Viking boy Hiccup and his pet dragon Toothless featured much mutual learning and hugging and, from Toothless, slobbering kisses. The tone was murkier, the message less Looney Tunes than Lifetime.
Writer-director Dean DeBlois’s sequel is even more somber. Like The Empire Strikes Back or the second The Lord of the Rings episode, it’s a war movie with aching betrayals and heavy casualties.