ROGER THOMAS REVIEW: “How to Train Your Dragon”: Is the third time another charm?

Published 8:50 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

There are nine years between the first “How to Train Your Dragon” film in 2010 and the one that has been playing in theaters for a few weeks here in 2019.

I admit, I was curious. It has been five years between the second film and the third one. I remember I liked the first one and I remembered less of the second. So I went to see the film to discover the third adventure.

Roger Thomas

Before I tell you what I think of the new film, let’s let the third film stay “hidden,” and allow me to tell you what I did prior.

I watched the original film. I had forgotten what a wonderful story it tells.

I was also enchanted by all the beautiful scenery. For the record, the third film is equally beautiful; and as an equal to the others as the first two.

As I watched the first film I also found the character design worked superbly. The dragons are impressive, the Viking characters are simply perfect.

One of the other charming elements in the film is vocal actors. I especially like Hiccup’s voice. Hiccup’s is played by Jay Baruchel.
Characters of the film reminds me of another charming thing in the film is the colorful names: Astrid, Grimmel, Gobber, Fishlegs, Ruffnut, Snotlout, just to name a few.

And by the way, in this third installment of this series, there are several notable actors filling in for the voices: America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill and Kristen Wiig, just to name a few.

Overall, if you are a big fan of this series, I am pretty sure you will find something in the third film and and also supposed last film. I question that, because we know, if the film succeeds, it is likely there will be four.

And that is what is bothering me.

I went to the theatre to see “Dragon 3.” I had not seen the first or the second film in quite some time. I knew it was about vikings and dragons. I knew they battled against their respective enemies in each film. And there were mean characters who attack the ones who want to live simple lives in the cliffs. Then something happens and the good people and the dragons find some sort of resolution, but I could not remember what that was.

So, I made the decision that I needed to go back to the original. As I sat there, I was amazed. And I was moved. My frequent readers know I can be moved fairly easily, but the first film, the first one I saw a decade ago, moved me when I watched it again years later.

The first film of the “Train Your Dragon” is the best. No doubt about it. I have not seen the second film lately, but it is probably better than the third.

And by the way, this is an interesting nugget to ponder. The first “Dragon” film was 98 minutes. The second film came in at 102 minutes. And the third film clocks in at 104 minutes. That is valuable information if you are with a child under 8.

Now, I know that there are a lot of critics who are praising the third film. I may give it another chance some day, but I still want to see the second film again first.

For now I am set with the first is the best and I pretty sure I am holding on to that. Of course, the filmmakers say this is the finale, but as I said before, we will see. Or not see.

Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.