It once seemed like an animated movie not made by Disney or Pixar wouldn’t be worth seeing unless you were seven years old. Then, in 2010 came a DreamWorks gem called “How to Train your Dragon.” Suddenly, Disney had a real competitor. Now here we are nine years later, and the quality is just as good.
“How to Train your Dragon 3” looks incredible. There are scenes in the hidden world of dragons that are breathtaking, full of neon colors and bright scenery. Things like trees and bushes no longer look the color they are but a brighter variation of their colors. But the hidden world is not the only thing that looks good. The facial animations and expressions find a great balance between realistic and cartoonish.
But everyone knew the movie would be beautiful considering this franchise’s track record. What people probably didn’t expect was just how heartfelt and intimate the conclusion would feel. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) had to finally say goodbye to Toothless, his dragon partner and friend of many years.
There is also a really great villain in the film named Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) who seems much more fleshed out and real compared the standard big dragon leading a pack like in the pre- vious two movies. He has a valid motivation and some of the best designed pet dragons to boot, making him a standout among animated villains. All he wants is to get rid of all of the nightfuries (the species of dragon Toothless is) and will stop at nothing to achieve it.
Hiccup also gets a great send-off here, as we see him finally have a family and be the leader he was always meant to be. His love and passion for dragons may seem wrong at first, but he learns to lead and love his dragons at the same time, making for a great conclusion to his character arc.
On the negative side, I did find myself predicting most of what would happen. It isn’t so much that I could tell exactly what characters would do and when they would do it, but there were a few narrative cliches that made for a less complete experience. It doesn’t hurt the film all too much, but it’s worth mentioning.
Still, “How To Train Your Dragon 3” was enjoyable from start to finish. It has enough heart and humor that many of its contrivances can be ignored, and it brings a satisfying conclusion to an already satisfying franchise. Go see this one if you’re a fan of the series, but if not, you just might find yourself a bit surprised at the quality.