Megan travels to the village of Berk to review Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon 3
Well, it’s finally here for us in the US, How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World. What a world it was. Looking back on the animation from the first one to this one, it is beyond to easy to see how much it has improved. When there were shots in the clouds, it really felt like you were flying in the clouds. When the water sprayed it almost felt like you were going to get sprayed with it. It was this animation that really helped draw you in and feel like you were really in the village of Berk with the characters. It’s also what made the ending so bittersweet.
Speaking of the characters, it is difficult to say just how good it was to see them again if it was for the final time. While many people in the comments sections of the various clips that have been posted on YouTube in the lead up to this movie are calling for another sequel, I actually have to disagree. The ending was beautiful. While it could use a slight tweak in my mind, it was still beautiful and emotional. Unfortunately, I can’t explain anymore without getting into spoilers. I will do that later though.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World | Dreamworks Animation
My only critique would be that at one hour and forty-seven minutes, everything flew by so fast (if you forgive the pun), it was difficult to really soak anything in. It was fun and emotional, yes, but not much time to take it all in. Just as you got emotionally sucked into one moment with two or more characters, it was already on to the next scene. One minute the movie was starting and now I’m back at home typing this.
Despite how much I loved this movie and this franchise as a whole, if Dreamworks added any more to this, it would just ruin the ending much in the same way Toy Story 4 is ruining the ending of Toy Story 3. I still plan to see that one, but I agree with the masses, even though I will admit that I’m interested in Toy Story 4, it’s predecessor had the perfect ending.
Back on the topic of this movie, it’s as a redacted character due to spoilers essentially said, ‘it’s better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all’. While I’m glad that I fell in love with this movie I will forever wistfully miss it. The ride, no the journey, I and many others took to reach this point is worth the pain of losing it now. If you haven’t already seen this movie, it is one I highly recommend whether or not you have seen the others let alone the incredible Netflix distributed series released between each. Just understand that if you haven’t seen the others, then this ending likely won’t hit you as hard. For those who have seen the other movies and series, bring tissues for the end. Even though I have now seen the movie twice, I still needed my own.
Well, with that out of the way, time to get into the heart of this movie. Where to begin though? Talking about the story, the music, the animation, or the callbacks? Well, I think I’ll just go in order of this list to make things easier. First off, the story. It’s basically about why Hiccup and Toothless have to part ways and bringing the story back to its roots i.e. “There were dragons when I was a boy…” aka how author Cressida Crowell began the first book. With this movie, you don’t just get a continuation of the story then final closure at the end. No, you get the reason why Hiccup and Toothless, Astrid and Stormfly, and all the other dragons had to leave Berk in the end. Let me tell you, even the second time around, the ending was painful, yet beautiful. Even just thinking about it hurts a bit.
Part of the reason the ending and even the entire movie hurt a bit is due to the music. While some of the score is borrowed from the previous two movies, it is only where needed and is organically mixed in with the larger score for the scene. In this way, you not only get the callback but also an evolution of a familiar theme. Take the ‘New, New Tail’ theme. In it, you can clearly hear echoes of the original ‘New Tail’ theme. Take a listen and towards the end of the second one, you will hear echoes of the first.
Then, at the end of the third movie, you can not only hear musical callbacks to the second movie but the first as well. Working forward, this begins with ‘Coming Back Around’ in the first, which then transforms into ‘Alpha Comes to Berk’ in the second movie and wraps up with ‘As Long as He’s Safe’ in the third and final movie. While they all have separate and unique sections, the parts that are familiar work great to not only help you recall the past but demonstrate why it’s just as relevant now. For my time, using even part of these familiar themes was an amazing way to close out this fun and emotional rollercoaster of a journey. This combined with images that were shown from all three movies during the credits…oh even now just typing this I’m getting a bit misty-eyed.
Moving on, the animation in the movie was so well done, that even from the above picture taken from the concept art of one of the movie’s scenes, you can tell that it’s beyond incredible. I dare anyone to say that the water and cliffs in this picture do not look real. It only looks even better when you zoom in and realize all the little details that were put in the cliffs, water, and even clouds to make them look as incredible as they do. This only gets better when one looks at the village of New Berk. Tell me you don’t feel like you’re actually in the village with Hiccup, Astrid, Eret son of Eret, and Toothless. It may not seem like it in the bottom picture, but in the movie…wow, just wow is all I can say.
Then like with the music, there are the call-backs to the first movie especially that really help to wrap the overall story up nicely. The first one that comes to mind is towards the end where Hiccup has a quick choice to make, let go of the light furry allowing her to save Toothless and showing her just how much he cares for him or hang on to the light furry and have her save him. Of course, for Hiccup it’s no choice at all. He easily lets go, allowing himself to plummet to his supposed death. As we all know, even in the last movie Hiccup can’t die. We had seen him sporting a beard in the trailer and up to this part of the movie, we hadn’t seen him wearing it.
Back on topic, for a few brief seconds, we get a shot of both Hiccup and Toothless falling together to their supposed death, echoing but not quite mirroring what we had seen them do towards the end of the first movie. Being such a powerful call-back, it is doubtless why the storytellers and animators stuck that in when and where they did. What other fitting ending is there to really help bring the story full circle?
Overall, I thought this was a fun movie that I would love to see again and again. Even during my second viewing, I was still tearing up even though I knew how the story truly ended. The scene of Hiccup and Toothless ultimately having to go their separate ways and lead their separate lands…As sad as it would have been, part of me wishes it would have ended differently. In my mind, how the movie should have ended was with all of Berk’s dragons flying off to their hidden world (hence the title of the movie), then Hiccup and Astrid finally getting married as we all knew they would from the beginning. The movie could have easily ended on the shot of Hiccup and Astrid standing on the hill looking out over the water together and it still would have been bittersweet.
This is not to say that I dislike the ending. No, I thought it was cute and helped calm the emotions that had just washed over me and the rest of the audience. Who didn’t want to see Hiccup and Astrid’s kids? They are so adorable…and Hiccup showing them how to do the hand thing in order to bond with a dragon…so cute!
Despite the ending, I would rate the movie four stars out of five. It is a definite must-see for more than just finishing off the trilogy/series depending on if you’ve watched the Netflix series as well. For as long as this movie is in theaters, then when it comes to digital download/Blu-Ray, watch this movie, watch this movie, watch this movie!
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