December 8, 2021

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[Review] How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: The Best Trilogy Since Toy Story?

Let’s get things straight: yes, Toy Story counts as a trilogy as the end was perfect in more ways than one, despite the release of a fourth episode this year. And since we are there, Die Hard and Indiana Jones are also trilogies, that’s it. Now we can talk about Dragons 3 because it is well worth it.

Initiated in 2010, the saga directed and scripted from start to finish by Dean DeBlois has therefore come to its conclusion – well, unless a Hollywood pirouette throws us a meaningless sequel – and when we look back, what an adventure we lived ! Dragons 3 is therefore this final tour of the track, sorry, of a dragon, the result of the experience acquired over the years and the films, thus presenting itself as much as a synthesis of the past as its logical, natural extension.

Hiccup and Toothless (since they are the same age) are now responsible adults, one of his clan, the other of his kind. But when a new threat arises in the guise of a smarter, more Machiavellian enemy, our Viking realizes that with responsibilities come consequences and that nothing lasts forever. Now he must learn to think of others before himself.

Reality and the common good are confronted with his childhood dreams. This third opus thus takes up each lesson learned in the previous films to henceforth measure its significance. As such, this feature film will surely speak more to parents than children, even if the latter will easily find what they are looking for.

How to Train Your Dragon 3 Reaches Adulthood
More mature, Dragons 3 prefers to focus on what it says than what it shows. The result is a footage that accumulates fewer epic scenes than its elder (very greedy at this level), despite, of course, a few obligatory passages. Nothing detrimental since it allows to refocus the story on something more intimate, more poetic.

Relationships are at the center of the story, whether it is about love or friendship, and each act accomplished has repercussions on what will come next. And if one can find the romantic ballets of Toothless a bit repetitive, one cannot ignore their beauty. Yes, this third opus lacks a truly striking sequence like its predecessor had been able to deliver to us, but it is above all because here, they constitute the whole of the film, all being vectors of emotions. Prepare to take out the tissues, especially during a last quarter of an hour of heart-pumping.

A paradigm shift that also allows women – which casually constitutes a significant advance – to fly alongside our heroes. Concern of adults (if one can say so), love is invited regularly in the scenario, causing necessary awakenings. Astrid is no more than a warrior and she allows Hiccup to pass a milestone in the same way as Toothless two films earlier. Similar story for the dragons, but we will stop there so as not to take away all the pleasure of the discovery.

A hidden world worth discovering
Dragons 3 is obviously not just a narrative adventure and the director takes pleasure in allowing himself everything that the genre allowed him. More than ever, it is in the air that the filmmaker really has fun because it is far from the ground that we find the most dazzling sequences of the feature film, both in the imagery and in the symbolism. Swirling, rhythmic, the staging serves the story and is used in return.

A result made possible by the animation, evolving in small touches like the story and the characters. At first glance, apart from a gain in fluidity, you won’t have the impression of big changes, but when you observe well, you realize that everything is in the detail. Richer decors, brighter colors, fuller beards … the saga has aged and technology is helping, the graphics have improved while avoiding excessive visual differences. Whether in the script or the animation, everything exudes coherence because, like Harold’s new responsibilities, Dean Deblois favors a whole.

Because Dragons 3’s greatest achievement is not in this third film, but in this thoughtful saga where a sequel has never been content to be one (which is becoming rare). Each film is a success in itself just like the success of an ensemble. We want to say that we are not in front of a third film, but in front of the third part of a great work, major, which will be a milestone in the history of animation in the same way as Toy Story before it.