And then, one day, it happens – you hit the wall, you jump the shark, you realize that there is no more juice in this lemon. Maybe you don’t realize it, but this is DreamWorks and I’ve heard rumor of yet another Shrek* movie in the works.
How to Train Your Dragon 3 should be retitled, “ The not $o hidden rea$on for thi$ $equel.” It honestly feels like it. What began as such a great franchise has continued to fall down hill in regards to their stories. As the franchise has gone on, the stakes feel less and less genuine and it all becomes more and more of a stretch. Things just happen in this movie, because reasons. Ultimately, it adds up to nothing eventful. To summarize this film:
Not surprisingly, the animation continues to impress in what was basically a hour and a half demonstration of all the cool things DreamWorks could animate if they had a decent story to go with it. The new environments were wonderfully rendered and the new dragons/ the amount of dragons independently operating in the space is exciting for other properties the company plans to produce going forward.
If you are trying to distract your kids for a few hours, this will be worth the ticket price. If you are a fan of the series, wait till it inevitably ends up on a streaming service.
Time to really dig in and dissect why I disliked this addition so much. What is the reason for telling this story? What makes this particular point in Hiccup’s life important? There isn’t an answer. The stakes are less than the previous film, but they suddenly decide to leave Burke? How is one dude trying to kill one dragon generating more of a threat level than an entire dragon army led by a guy who controls dragons?
As we are shown, there is a surplus of dragons and Vikings on Burke that have better technology than any of their competitors combined. There is one shot of Valka scouting and finding a lot of ships and the villian flying around with a handful of dragons. The villains are right on their tales with wood. As we all know, dragons hate wooden ships. They better relocate to a place that may not exist, that is the most reasonable option…You just have better resources and people power at your disposal. It’s not like wood burns when you set it on fire. Let alone the fact that all of this is over a dragon. One. The chief’s dragon…which means that the protection and survival of all his people is equivalent to one dragon. Albeit an important one and this is a kids movie. Even still, leaving to go to a place that may not exist is reckless and ill founded.
The villain is irrelevant-so much so I don’t even want to look up the name or actor despite being on a device that makes this painless. He kills dragons because he hates them, specifically nightfuries, but he also uses dragons? That’s like a guy using guns to shoot the NRA to prove that guns are dangerous. For some reason, this one guy now makes as otherwise incompetent collection of various tribes a threat. To reiterate, one, fucking, person. Not even like the DreamWorks equivalent of the Punisher or anything either. Some dude who uses a psychedelic syringe shooter is causing all of the conflict. Then they have the audacity to mention they haven’t been able to stop the raids since Drago died, but no one ever talked about him till the second movie and then Burke is suddenly a problem.
The villain is lured in to kill Toothless because he is a nightfury…and then proceeds to let another one loose to “bait” him. None of his traps really work and I cannot fathom how his plan makes any fucking sense, but the movie likes to tell you how smart he is. If I’m trying to kill a known dangerous dragon that has reached alpha male level, I’m going to go in there and fucking kill it. You know what I’m not going to do?! Release the only god damn female of that same species to “bait” him. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU BAITING HIM TOWARDS?!?!?! THEY DON’T KNOW YOU ARE COMING, JUST GO IN THERE AND KILL HIM. BUT YES, LET’S RELEASE THE ONLY FUCKING FEMALE LEFT IN EXISTENCE IN THE OFF CHANCE THAT THEY DON’T END UP MATING. It’s like if a Raptor got out at Jurassic Park, Hammond decides release another one…Muldoon would have a field day.
“Eric, this is a kids movie” you say. Neat, bitch, then don’t pretend your villain is the next Kraven the Hunter.
All the side characters could die and I wouldn’t blink. Their development from the first movie is somehow less than each of the sequels villain’s. They add nothing and anything they do is not earned. The film opens with them on a raid and all realizing they need to get better and work together…Then somehow, at the end they all do amazingly…WITH NOTHING IN BETWEEN TO VALIDATE IT. THEY JUST ARE SUDDENLY BETTER.
The film jumps a number of years and Shrek 3‘s it’s way into an excuse to make more toys. The dragons go into hiding because humanity sucks. Hiccup goes and introduces Toothless to his new family and vice versa. He hints that the dragons will come back when humanity stops sucking… I want to see that film. I want a film where the stakes are so high that Hiccup needs Toothless’ help or both of their worlds will collapse. That film is exciting. That film is necessary. That film has stakes. Fuck this movie man.
*(Editor’s Note: DreamWorks currently has another Shrek film in development…)