News: Dreamworks Animations conclusion to their Viking and dragon saga see’s Hiccup, Astrid and Toothless once again defending their peaceful way of life from outsider interference.
Thoughts: DreamWorks Animation have released thirty-five films up to this point and I have only enjoyed two of them: How to Train Your Dragon and its sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2. Now that’s not exactly a great track record but I do hope that I can add the finale, due out next year, to my short list of DreamWorks films I can recommend.
Director Dean DeBlois returns with writer Cressida Cowell to finish their story of Viking and dragon relations, and it is this fact that gives me hope that this film will finish just as strong as it started. Even if the trailer doesn’t exactly wow me. Indeed, the short bits of story we receive in this first look follow the same beats we have seen for two films now. Hiccup and Astrid discover a secret retreat of dragons along with a hunter that wants to rid the world of them. It is then up to the young adults to lead their people and thwart the new villain while growing their bond with their new reptile companions.
But while the story may look to be repeating the same beats we have seen before, it is DeBlois and Cowells ability to fill their tale with heart and passion that can elevate the material into something special. How to Train Your Dragon and its sequel were great films because they had genuine emotion and a love for the characters. Other DreamWorks Animation films, such as Shrek, Madagascar, and Boss Baby are just empty shells stuffed with nothing but pop culture references, cheap gags and obnoxious pop music.
Moviegoers have been able to see Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless, Stoick and Valka and the rest of the Viking clan grow and develop as characters in ways that most western animated films simply don’t deliver, save for the Pixar ones. And that is what made the first two How to Train Your Dragon films special; they felt like they were brought to life within Pixar Animation Studios and not outside of it.
Needless to say I am excited for the conclusion to Hiccups story and I hope it is another filled with great animation, likable characters and maybe even a villain with some depth and complexity this time around. But either way, at least we’ll be able to see some dragons breathing fire and apparently using some nifty teleportation.