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“How To Train Your Dragon 3” is an epic and emotional end to the animated trilogy

Poster for How to Train Your Dragon 3

The original “How To Train Your Dragon” made huge waves when it premiered in 2010. Not only was it visually stunning, it was also emotional and action-packed, setting the bar high for its sequels. How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World marks the conclusion of Toothless and Hiccup’s (Jay Baruchel) story and it does not disappoint, boasting quality animation, fantastic flying setpieces and a strong emotional core.

The third film takes us back to Hiccup’s village, where people and dragons are co-existing and living in peace. When a dragon hunter comes and wants to eliminate Toothless, Hiccup realizes him and his people need to leave their home and find a place that’s safer. A common theme throughout the film is companionship and the power in doing things together rather than alone. Hiccup tries so hard to be the leader his father was, but feels like he isn’t doing a great job himself. The support of his other friends and his love interest Astrid (America Ferrera) give him the will and confidence to stand tall, and his brotherhood with Toothless gives him a best friend. Toothless, on the other hand, discovers a white dragon that’s similar to his kind, and falls in love with her.

The villain Grimmell (F. Murray Abraham) is considered one of the most cunning dragon hunters in all the land. He dreads the idea of coexisting with dragons, mostly because the cheers he used to get  for defeating dragons had turned to boos now that people saw them as their friends. Grimmell as a character smartly shows viewers how the plants of hate have false seeds, mirroring the recent xenophobic, anti-immigration sentiments that are plaguing society.

“How To Train Your Dragon” has always been great at incorporating real-world lessons without hitting the audience over the head with it. This is the case because of how rich the characters have become. In the previous film,Toothless and Hiccup shared a bond and found power despite both being handicapped. People have practically aged with these characters, with nearly eight years passing since the first one. With each film, Hiccup learns from mistakes and grows up to become the man that he wants to be. Seeing this development made Hiccup a much more nuanced character than those in other mainstream animated films.

A small gripe about the movie is they weren’t able to properly balance Toothless’ side-plot of finding the new dragon with Hiccup’s leadership crisis of moving his people. Some of the jokes also fall flat but that’s not really an issue since they’re directed toward younger audiences. These gripes aside, “How To Train Your Dragon 3” delivers incredible, vibrant animation and a beautiful John Powell score that’s epic and moving. It also delivers valuable lessons while simultaneously staging exciting action. Dean Deblois’ installment in the series is a fitting, satisfying end that rounds out of one of the best animated trilogies in a while.

Grade: A-

How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World comes out February 22 

aalmutairi@theeagleonline.com


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