Arriving in theaters this Friday is How to Train Your Dragon 2, the highly anticipated follow up to 2010′s surprise critical and commercial success How to Train Your Dragon, which won over audiences and critics alike with its immersive world, lovable cast of characters, and emotional heft. The sequel picks up five years later on the island of Berk where dragons and Vikings have learned to thrive harmoniously together after decades of mutual destruction. But when a menacing dragon trapper threatens their newfound way of life, Hiccup and Toothless set off on another adventure, facing bigger and broader challenges with the threat of greater consequences. Returning cast members Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, T.J. Miller and Jonah Hill are joined by newcomers Cate Blanchett, Djimon Hounsou and Kit Harington.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the DreamWorks Animation studio in Glendale, California with a number of other journalists where we caught an advanced screening of the film, participated in a Q&A with director Dean DeBlois, and got an inside look at the behind-the-scenes process of creating an animated film. Hit the jump to check out my thoughts on the How to Train Your Dragon 2 and a bullet point summary of what I learned from the visit.