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Random Thoughts: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, or Please Don't Make a Fourth One

"You're probably coming back as a Netflix series."

•Being the last film in a trilogy, I was expecting a cry-fest. You know, like what Toy Story did when it (supposedly) ended. There were a few scenes that could've unleashed tears, but they didn't come.

•The courtship scene of the two Furies, where they danced and flew in beautiful formation, kind of reminded me of the robot courtship ritual of Wall-E and Eve. Although of course Wall-E was set in space, but it was pretty much the same. It even had the same effect, making you go, "Aww, how cute! They're just like humans, but less horny!"

•I was hoping for more Kit Harington also, but he was relegated to one of the grownups like the one-legged Gobber (Craig Ferguson) and Hiccup's mom Valka (Cate Blanchett).

•For some reason, I enjoyed the villain here. So his name is Grimmel, and he's voiced by F. Murray Abraham, and you couldn't tell it was him because he used some kind of accent. He doesn't invite that much hate, compared to the previous film's villain Drago, voiced by Djimon Hounsou, who loved screaming his lines. Grimmel seemed smarter, more relatable, maybe because he actually used strategy, compared to Drago's brute force.

•The movie felt less animated, for some reason. I mean, except for the character designs, the details in this film tend to lean towards photorealism. The cinematography was great, as usual, since they used cinematographer Roger Deakins as visual consultant for all three films in this series (Deakins won an Oscar for 2017's Blade Runner 2049). He captured the bleak, dreary look of the Viking world quite beautifully, and I think the colourful huts compensated for the lack of color, even if it did remind me of third world slums.

•Okay, let's talk about TJ Miller. I know the guy's difficult to work with, which was the reason he was kicked out of HBO's Silicon Valley. But is an actor's work ethic enough to grant him something close to persona non grata status in Hollywood? I mean, I can understand if he gets a marked decrease in acting gigs, but it has to be something really serious if he loses a voice acting gig for a character he's already voiced in the previous two movies, right? Okay, I just Googled it, and apparently, TJ Miller has some sexual assault allegations on his plate. Tuffnut – I mean, tough luck.

•Just some minor nitpicking, but is it possible to have a sinkhole in the ocean? Isn't "sea level" supposed to be the lowest level for land that isn't submerged in the water? Because the "hidden world" referred to in the title, the ancestral domain of all dragons, can be found below sea level, but on dry land. I'm sorry, but that's just not realistic for me. Dragons I can suspend my disbelief for, but not that.

•I think it's a fitting ending for Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless to part ways. A lesser franchise would've kept Hiccup and Toothless together until the end, like they were meant to be together. But Toothless is a dragon, and I appreciate how the filmmakers stayed true to the essence of dragons. These are majestic creatures, and they cannot be tamed, so it's a good thing Hiccup and Toothless parted ways as equals, not as master and pet ending their relationship.

•And on that note, I think the filmmakers did a good job of ending the series. Some film franchises give you a trilogy, then suddenly come out of left field with a fourth film (I'm looking at you, Toy Story). A trilogy in itself can sometimes feel like an obvious money-making venture, like how they forcefully stretched out The Hobbit into three films. But a good trilogy, when done right, can be a beautiful thing. How to Train Your Dragon as a trilogy was well done, and I really hope the producers leave the franchise alone. Any additions to this film universe should be done in the form of spin-offs, not forced continuations.

"Of course I have facial hair. I'm a Viking."

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. USA/Japan. 2019.

Original rating: 8.0/10
Stoic scenes: +0.1
Final rating: 8.1/10


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