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“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” (Logan at the Movies)

A perfect way to cap off the trilogy!

 

The original was complex yet lighthearted. The sequel was a bit more serious in tone. While the third and final chapter (appropriately deemed “The Epic Conclusion” in the marketing) is the most mature.

Hiccup and Astrid (once again voiced by Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera) are young adults now and wedding bells are hinted at quite a bit.

In this one Hiccup and Toothless discover a Lightfury, which launches a romantic friendship between Toothless and the

Lighfury in the process starts an investigation to find the “Hidden World” a place were the remaining dragons can run wild and be safe. With all that going on we are introduced to a new villain who’s apparently been hiding the back ground all along. This new baddie name Grimmel (reminds me of Hades from the Disney film “Hercules”)

Now I’ve not seen any of the Netflix shows, so I don’t have that extra intake of the franchise, yet.

The best thing about these movies is the animation it’s beautifully rendered. The characters and the relationships are done very well, a good finish to their arcs.

Quite a few surprises here, apart from the awesome action scenes my favorite parts involve Toothless trying to woo this Lightfury, there’s no dialogue here at all, it relies on visual storytelling.

The evil Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) is a Night Fury hunter-killer. When he learns of the existence of Toothless, the black dragon becomes his target. So Hiccup and his motley crew must gear-up to battle this villain and his deadly, chemical-induced dragon creatures. Complicating things is the presence of a bright white “Light Fury”. She catches Toothless’ wide green eyes. This romantic infatuation separates Toothless and Hiccup for the first time in the series, forcing the once inseparable friends to try to achieve greatness – on their own. As they take on this new threat to the Vikings and the ever-growing population of dragons who now live peacefully together on the island of Berk.

The script is a balancing act of action, humor and romance, with a deep emotional core with dialogue taking a backseat at times. There are several extended scenes in which no words are spoken. As Toothless and the Light Fury begin to bond, “Dragon 3” starts to give-off some “WALL-E” vibes. These two are another black and white star-crossed lover animated duo who use unique communication skills to show their affection.

DeBlois attempts to lighten the serious tone from time to time, using some of the wacky Vikings as comic relief which really works.

As has been the case since the first scene of the original, the visuals create rich, poetic moments, especially when we’re (eventually) introduced to The Hidden World. Composer John Powell takes the music of the franchise to new heights. And the voice cast delivers more effective, even deeper performances, particularly Ferrera and Gerard Butler (whose Stoick shines in a few key flashbacks).

Overall, “Dragon 3” is a soaring emotional send-off. Ranking the trilogy, I’d say “1” is slightly better than “2”, which is just slightly better than “3”. But they’re all very good films: well-crafted and well-intentioned. And all will hold-up decades from now, when many current animation franchises have been forgotten.

My only complaint is with the 3D the format, the 1st two films did a great job not only with the depth showing off the landscape but the in- your – face aspect was great as well. Unfortunately there were only a handful of pop out at you moments and the depth of the 3D was nearly non-existent.

PG (for sequences of intense action and some scary images, and brief mild language)

REVIEW SCORE/ B+

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