While Pixar isn’t quite as unassailable in the realm of computer animated films as they were in the past, they’re still the company to beat, and over the years, few of their rivals have risen to the challenge. A notable exception, however, is Dreamworks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon franchise.
The first came out of nowhere in 2010 and blew audiences away, and while the 2014 sequel wasn’t quite as good, it was still a great adventure movie. So, expectations are high for this year’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. And from the sounds of the reactions to an advance screening that was held this week, they’ve knocked it out of the park again.
First up, Variety says the following about the upcoming threequel:
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World packs the emotional heft of the dozen or so years it has taken to get this far, tracking the loss of one parent, the discovery of another, and several momentous lessons in bravery and loyalty along the way.
The Wrap, meanwhile, goes so far as to compare the film to Toy Story 3, going on to say that:
As DeBlois engineers this tale towards an expectedly exciting and poignant conclusion, one realizes how well that cleverly misdirecting title “How to Train Your Dragon” has morphed from literal to figurative, from being about command and obeisance to handling the turmoil within. Slapping a “3” after it wouldn’t have distinguished this soulful trilogy about growing up, and about the gift of empathy, nearly as well as a subtitle like “The Hidden World.”
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New Zealand magazine Stuff puts the movie in the same breath as WETA (which is a big compliment from a New Zealander), writing:
“Rivaled only by the Weta-infused Apes as the best trilogy of the current decade, How to Train Your Dragon completes its triptych with a fitting final flourish.”
Finally, IndieWire hints at a potentially tearjerking ending, teasing:
“The Hidden World strikes a bittersweet chord in reminding its young audience that all good things – including the age of dragons – must come to an end.”
Man, if they kill off Toothless in the final scenes, I’m going to be seriously bummed out. Let’s just hope they’re not that cruel.
Either way, the film sounds great, and we already know that the author of the original books agrees with these critics. As for the rest of us? Well, we’ll find out if all these positive reactions are indicative of what the general public will think when How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World hits cinemas on February 22nd.