Welcome, one and all, to another trailer reaction post! Today, I’m delving into the final part of a trilogy that I’ve been a fan of since the first film. So, let’s return to the world of Vikings and adorable dragons with How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World from Dreamworks.
Now, this has been a long time coming. The first film released in 2010, and the sequel didn’t see the light of day until 2014. First, this looked set to break the four-year cycle, with a release date slated for June 2016. That was, as the director stated, a little ambitious. The film was pushed back to June 2017, then June 2018. Now, we’re looking at March 2019. But will the wait be worth it? Let’s examine the trailer to get an idea of that.
The trailer can really be split into three acts. The first act serves the purpose of reminding us what has happened already on a very base level and setting up the state of the world as it stands. As such, it opens with a few clips from the previous two films. Nothing too long, just some shots of Toothless and Hiccup together while Hiccup reminds us that he and Toothless’ relationship changed the way Vikings treated dragons. The first new shot we see comes pretty quickly too, and we can see that everyone is pretty much living in peace now.
This is probably the shortest part of the trailer, which is fine, because what we really want to see is what the main story will hold. Even so, this is nicely put together, with a lovely shot of the various dragons wandering freely through the village. It was also really nice to see fan favourite Gobber the Belch appearing, complete with his usual comic relief trappings.
The second act shows off what will be one of the major plot points: Toothless finds a potential mate in the form of a white female Light Fury. Here, we not only get to see the two would-be lovers courting, but also catch a glimpse of “a hidden dragon world”.
A couple of things really stand out here. First up, the animation is absolutely stunning. The obvious point that this applies to is the vibrant environment in the dragon’s world. The sheer amount of colour on display is really pretty to look at, both in terms of the scenery, and the various little beasties flying around. There are some subtleties too though; when we first see the Light Fury, there’s an almost glittery quality to her wings and scales. It’s a small thing, but it really adds to the usual high-end work. The same can be said for the smaller movements on display, such as the slight twitching of her nose as she moves closer to Toothless.
Next, it looks like the humour of the previous two films remains intact. The facial expressions on display, especially as it pertains to Toothless, as wonderfully caricatured in style. Plus, the Night Fury’s attempts at a mating dance do a great job of balancing actual animal mating rituals with enough anthropomorphism for it all to look adorably goofy.
The final act of the trailer sets up the major conflict that will be interacting with (and I would imagine drive forward) the potential romance between the dragons. Grimmel the Grisly has hunted down every Night Fury, except for Toothless. Now, if Hiccup doesn’t hand him over, Grimmel will ‘destroy everything he loves’. What follows is part of a rallying cry from Hiccup, and a lot of shots of an epic battle between the Dragon Riders and Grimmel and his fleet, interspersed with some softer moments.
Again, the animation is really good here. The battle is something I expect to take up a good twenty plus minutes of the film, and it looks like the action is going to be high octane. The shot of Hiccup with his flaming sword, walking out of the flames, was quite eye catching, and we really get to see the leathery texture on Toothless’ wings throughout too.
It’s the softer moments that are telling though, and I think that they may be hinting at a bittersweet ending here. There’s the obvious courting between the Night and Light Fury, the shot of Hicccup and Astrid holding hands and smiling out towards something, and the clip of Hiccup telling Toothless, “It’s you and me bud, always.” Throw in the choice to end the trailer with a funny clip that brings everything back to the budding romance, and one thing becomes clear: Toothless and the Light Fury will get together. My thinking is that they will remain in the hidden dragon world to raise their children. Which would be equal parts a happy and sad ending.
All in all, I’m excited. I thought that How To Train Your Dragon was great, and How To Train Your Dragon 2 was even better. If this is even as good as the first film, it’ll be a great piece of family cinema.
But how about all of you? Are you a fan of the series? What did you think of the trailer? Let me know in the comments below.