I was somewhat late to the How to Train Your Dragon bandwagon, only watching the first film after seeing a trailer for the second film and having it pique my interest. I’m glad I got over my initial reasons for not wanting to watch the original as both films were excellent so I’ve been really eagerly awaiting the third film which closes out the trilogy.
What’s really pleasing is that from a personal standpoint the makers of the film have ended it on a high. The film picks up a year after the second film as Hiccup settles into his role as chief of Berk, rescuing dragons but conscious it makes the village a target so is looking at the hidden world of the title as a safe haven, while also having a new threat to deal with.
There are a few complaints from a personal standpoint. The villain is underdeveloped, there’s an interesting reveal about him that’s never really expanded on and he winds up being a pretty generic as a result. There’s also a little too much focus on some of the supporting characters, and while Hiccup has become a much more nuanced character over the series his friends (with the exception of Astrid) have not and it’s quite jarring at times.
Jay Baruchel is excellent as Hiccup, I did always wonder how a guy I’d only ever seen in films where he swears a lot would do with a family film but he’s been genuinely been brilliant throughout the series and here he does an admirable job of conveying the doubts and fears of growing and changing. He’s also ably supported by America Ferrera as Astrid and Cate Blanchett and Gerard Butler as Hiccup’s mother and father respectively.
Amongst the many things I ended up loving about this film the visuals are definitely way up there. It’s genuinely one of the best looking animated films I’ve ever seen, there is a great sequence in the film that is absolutely stunning. There’s also a lot of nice little callbacks to the previous films which are fun, the credits sequence is excellent for this. Overall it’s one of the best animated films I’ve seen, I’d say and if you’re a fan of the series then definitely see it. If you’ve not checked out the series before now it’s a good time to do so.
Beard Score: 8.5/10