Friday, March 1, 2019

The Dragon King

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Director: Dean DuBlois
Voice Talent: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, F. Murray Abraham, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Kristin Wiig, Kit Harrington
Released: February 22, 2019
Viewed in theaters: February 27, 2019

My last line of my How To Train Your Dragon 2 review was "I'll see you in another couple years for How To Train Your Dragon 3!" and here we are. 

It's a good thing Toy Story has a fourth movie coming out or else I wouldn't know which animated trilogy would be my favorite animated trilogy. How could I choose between those two? But why couldn't Toy Story 4 come out a year earlier or a year later because now it's going to win the Oscar for Best Animated Movie and Toy Story 3 already won that Oscar over How To Train Your Dragon (and they were both wonderful movies, so I'm not complaining or anything!) I just want one of the HTTYD movies to win an Oscar for Best Animated Movies because they are all so good! I thought the second movie DID win said Oscar, but while it was nominated, it lost to Big Hero Six

You guys, the How To Train Your Dragon movies are so good! Seriously, if you've never seen them, I HIGHLY recommend you check them out. Also, I'm being quite serious about that because I will be spoiling some things from the first and second movies in my review as I rewatched both of them in preparation for the final movie. These movies are put out by DreamWorks which seem to have more bad movies than good, but even these movies could rival something from Pixar. (Apparently not Toy Story, though! But if I had to choose between the Toy Story movies and the HTTYD movies, I would just curl up in a ball and start crying because there's no way I could choose between them!) 

The animation is gorgeous, the score is amazing, the actors they got to voice the characters are great, the story is touching and has a lot of depth (all three make me CRY hardcore!), but there's also touches of humor (not all the humor works all the time, but when these movies are funny, they'll get you laughing), oh, yeah and the dragons are super awesome! Plus I just love the simple story of a boy bonding with an animal, so I feel this movie appeals to pet owners who also share a special bond with their own animal.

Spoilers ahoy for all three movies! Go watch these movies if you've never seen them! 

Mother of Dragons
We are told that the third movie takes place only a year after the events of the second movie. I thought it would have been a lot longer since there's a five year gap between the first and second movies (only four in real life, though!) This means that Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is 21 because we learned in the second movie he is 20. (Whoo hoo! I can do math!) While watching the first movie (for the third time), I was wondering how old Toothless, the Night Fury that Hiccup befriends, is. We are told this in the second movie (only my second time watching it since I saw it in theaters) by Valka (Cate Banchett), Hiccup's mother, that Toothless is the same age as Hiccup. She appears to be reading his scale lines or something. Now I'm assuming that Toothless hasn't literally been on Earth for twenty years, but rather that's in dragon year. I don't know the life expectancy of a dragon (does anyone?), but I'm assuming you count your pet dragon's age in dragon years much like a dog or cat owner uses dog/cat years to determine their pets' age. I'm just going to assume Toothless is three or four and that equals twenty in human years. Yes, I have put way too much thought into this.

Toothless and Cloudjumper
I remember watching the first movie for the first time way back in 2010 and thinking how much Toothless reminded me of a cat. He has very feline qualities. He also reminds me of a bat with his wings, especially when he's flying. (Or when he's hanging upside down!)  While watching the movies again, I noticed that a lot of the dragons remind me of at least some kind of animal. Obviously you have ones that take on lizard or snake-like qualities, but there are other animals I noticed in the design of the dragons. Valka's dragon, Cloudjumper (my second favorite dragon after Toothless....absolutely adorable, yet very fierce!) was like a cross between an owl and a bulldog; the large "alpha" dragons in the second movie reminded me of walruses with their tusks; the dragon-killing dragons that belonged to the bad guy in the newest movie reminded me of scorpions.

We learn the reason that Night Furies are so rare is that Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), our movie's bad guy, has killed most of them almost into extinction. He has plans to kill as many dragons as he can, especially any remaining Night Furies. You may think it's ironic for someone who hates dragons so much to have his own dragons (he has about four), but much like in the second movie with Drago, they have been trained to serve him and will do whatever he wants. 

The island of Berk has become overcrowded with dragons (of all shapes and sizes - everything between itty-bitty and massively huge) as Hiccup and his mother and friends (which include his girlfriend, Astrid (America Ferrera)) have rescued captured dragons and bring them back. Hiccup knows that they need a better place to live, not to mention that Grimmel knows about them and he decides the only safe thing to do is to move everyone and every dragon somewhere else. We see Stoick (RIP Stoick :::sniff:::: seriously, was that not one of the saddest moments in animation movie history?) appear in flashbacks (voiced by Gerald Butler) when Hiccup was younger and he tells his son about a Hidden World where dragons live and how he wants to find this place and seal the door so humans and dragons don't have to co-exist. Of course, we know now that humans and dragons can live together peacefully. There is a cute moment when young Hiccup asks about Night Furies and then adds, "They're scary!" Oh, if only you knew, young Hiccup! 

I suppose the good thing about having dragons when you move somewhere, is that they can carry all the heavy stuff...which is exactly what they do. A lot of the much bigger dragons are carrying Viking ships and heavy bundles of things. They see a sparse island and Hiccup decides they should make camp there. 

Grimmel decides to lure Toothless by using the captured Light Fury he has to entice him. A Light Fury looks exactly like a Night Fury, only it's white instead of black. We get some pretty cute scenes between Toothless and the Light Fury (who never gets a name, but I guess that makes sense since she isn't anyone's pet) doing their mating dance. The romance between these two dragons has to be the cutest romance between an animated non-human pair since Wall-E and Eve from WALL-E. When the Light Fury flies away, Toothless is upset because he can't follow her because, if you remember from the first movie, a part of his tail fin (the horizontal stabilizer if you will) was torn off when Hiccup shot him down) and he can only fly when he has a full tai. So Hiccup creates a new one for him and he is able to fly off and find his female counterpart who takes him to the Hidden World. Meanwhile, he's been gone for awhile and Hiccup is starting to get worried as he thought Toothless would be back by now. Astrid points out to him that he gave Toothless his freedom. Hiccup thinks that his dragon might be in trouble so he and Astrid hop on Astrid's dragon, Stormfly to find him. All the dragons must be able to find the Hidden World because Stormfly seems to know exactly where to go. As expected, the Hidden (Dragon) World is gorgeous with this extra-worldly light and if full of dragons (I even saw Drago's alpha dragon from the second movie who loses its tusk, but it's hard to miss that thing as it's so massive!) and Hiccup and Astrid see that Toothless and his new girlfriend have become the Dragon King and Queen of the Hidden World.

Crouching Dragon, Hidden Dragon
Since many of these dragons are wild and not been domesticated, when they spot the two humans, they start to attack them. They are rescued by Toothless who flies them back to the island where they've set up camp. Meanwhile, Ruffnut (the other young female who isn't Astrid) has been captured and held by Grimmel and we get one of the funniest scenes in the movie where she is going on and on and won't shut up. She is voiced by Kristin Wiig and you know they just set up the scene for her and let her ad-lib. If I hadn't known Kristin Wiig voiced this character since the first movie, I would have no idea that was her because she makes her voice sound gruff. It is a very funny scene because she is just going on and on (she doesn't seem to realize that she could easily be killed at any moment!) and you think Grimmel is going to make her dragon chow, but then she lets slip where her people have landed and Grimmel uses this to his advantage and lets her go so he can follow her. The Light Fury has also followed Toothless back to the island and she is captured by Grimmel which results in Toothless being captured when he goes to her aid. Look, we can all blame the incompetent Ruffnut for unknowingly leading Grimmel to their camp, but if Hiccup had never gone looking for Toothless in the Hidden World, then Toothless would have never flown him back and his Queen wouldn't have followed, and she wouldn't have gotten captured, etc., etc. Hiccup knows this because he guiltily points it out to Astrid. I love the callback to the first movie when Astrid asks Hiccup, "What are you going to do about it?"

Grimmel warns Toothless to keep the other dragons from attacking him or else he will kill the Light Fury, so instead the other dragons follow willingly without any threat leaving the Vikings without their dragons. Of course the humans find a way to save the dragons and Hiccup saves the Light Fury, who in turns saves Toothless, then saves Hiccup from falling to his death. It's a sweet moment because before then, the Light Fury, who has never been around humans, had always been apprehensive around Hiccup, breathing fire in his vicinity whenever he was  around.

So around this time, we're near the end of the movie and I have't cried...yet. Well, that's about to change! Get out the Kleenex because the tears are about to start flowing. Now this wasn't a huge surprise that I cried as I bawled during the first and second movie, so I knew this moment was going to be inevitable. Hiccup realizes that Toothless and all the other dragons belong in the Hidden World where they will be safe from humans who are trying to hunt them, not to mention that Toothless has found his soul mate and needs to be with her. I cried so much when they say their goodbyes and we also see the other Vikings saying goodbye to their dragons. If you think about it, Hiccup and Toothless were only together for six years which isn't that long at all!

The very last five minutes of the movie take place a few years later and Hiccup and Astrid are married and have two small children. This is when we see Hiccup with his beard which they show in some of the promo posters so I was wondering when we were going to see that. The family is on a boat and they come across Toothless, the Light Fury, and three absolutely adorable baby dragons! I think I literally "aw!"-ed. Hiccup is reunited with his friend and he introduces his children where we get a great callback from the first movie when Hiccup puts up his palm towards Toothless while looking away and Toothless nuzzles them. We get that scene again, only this time it's Hiccup's children who are putting their palms towards the dragon while looking away. It's a very sweet ending and I'm having to take a handkerchief out of my purse to wipe the cascade of tears flowing from my eyes.

I love these movies so much! I just have to make sure I have Kleenex nearby when I watch them! 

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