In just a week or two, the third film in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is scheduled to be released and the first word of mouth is extremely positive. In order to get ready for The Hidden World (#3), I decided that I would re-watch the first two films. Hard work, I know.
What a wonderful movie this is.
I remember when it first came out, this film was so surprising, so magical. It took the well-known trope of a boy and his dog movie and upped the ante big time. From dog to dragon.
Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) was unlike the other Vikings. He was small, soft-hearted and lacked the killer instinct shown by the others, including his own father, Stoik the Vast (Gerard Butler). Stoik, obsessed with the Viking war against the dragons, was embarrassed that his son was the local laughing stock.
When Hiccup luckily shoots down the rare and vilified night fury dragon, no one believes him. When he goes to finish the injured dragon off, Hiccup realizes that he in not capable of killing the beast. Instead, he goes about forming a friendship with him and helping to mend his injured tail. Naming the dragon Toothless, Hiccup becomes close friends with the dragon and learns a lesson about the creatures.
The animation is stunning. Absolutely spectacular. The flying scenes with Hiccup on Toothless’s back is stuff of legend and the final battle with the giant dragon and the flames could not be rendered in a more perfect way. This animation holds up to today’s standards and only makes me even more excited to see what the next film will look like. Full of amazing color and creative designs, this movie is an epic mosaic of pigmentation.
The relationship between Hiccup and Toothless is front and center, but not the only relationship that is given time in this narrative. Hiccup and his father have a fully understandable and relatable relationship and the sweet first love connection in the world of Vikings is shown between Hiccup and Astrid (America Ferrera).
The voice cast, led by the great work by Jay Baruchel and the others already mentioned, include such top line voices as Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig and T.J Miller.
This first film starts the trilogy off on an epic journey and you wonder how they could possibly match the strength and emotionally powerful debut. #2 is next.