How To Train Your Dragon 3 offers an experience not even Game of Thrones can — soaring like a dragon. So forget what you’ve ever thought or heard about 4DX; following HTTYD3, your head won’t ache; your ribs won’t sting; heck, you won’t need to ice your back when you get home to your couch. Rather, the final of this ultra underrated fantasy trifecta is a majestic, far more relaxing journey to The Hidden World, one I had no problem comprehending despite (sadly and, now, pathetically) missing the first two films. In addition to an adorable yet edgy enough script that didn’t take this n00b long to fully indulge, the 4DX effects made this film feel like a Disn.. DreamWorks ride I should have tried many a time ago.
The number one reason? So.Many.Dragons. I’ve never witnessed this amount of these scaly fire-breathing wonders simultaneously on screen. In the scenes venturing to.. well.. the hidden world, there had to be hundreds! These dragons are more than oversized flying serpents. Each has a big personality and — better — a unique ability that 4DX fully takes advantage of. The newest, most striking film effect was the flash comet, a eye-popping strobe used during scenes Toothless has with his, um, girlfriend, Light Fury. Scenes featuring these two little love muffins are super adorable for children, yet their so rich it’s real interactions are sure to warm hearts of the most stern adult, as well.
As far as the funnies, the small audience at my private screening warmed up to HTTYD3‘s zany supporting characters in the second act. Perhaps it was because, like me, my fellow journalists didn’t understand possible references to the original films– or maybe/likely it was just that the script got stronger as it went on. While not all jokes hit, there are a heap of laugh out loud moments throughout. And thankfully, the narrative never felt too sappy or felt like it was trying too hard to please everyone. You don’t need to know the backstory of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Astrid (America Ferrara), either, as both characters come off likeable and evolved. The longer the film went, you could sense Hiccup bowing at the crossroads of Berk — his village community that hosts both humans and dragons.
As for our big bad, I loved F. Murray Abraham‘s villain Grimmel. He’s not an overzied brute with ancient powers or a mere mustache twirling bastard. He reminded me more of a Doctor Doom/Magneto type dude with his own agendas and beliefs. Grimmel has his own reasons for wanting to rid of our beloved dragons, not an entirely different vision from that of Hiccup — just a far more drastic and devious way of going about it. While the final “boss battle” is semi-anticlimactic; getting there is what’s most important and watching Grimmel’s machinations were a joy.
In short, your journey to The Hidden World via 4DX is worth the extra ticket price. The film offers just the right amount of tough and tumble seat-shakes during epic battles, a fair, yet not overwhelming, amount of smoke and smells upon discovery of new lands, and you’ll glide alongside the dragons to a most enjoyable serenity. Now I just need to see the other two…
Movie = 4/5
4DX Effects = 4.75/5
Overall = 4.25/5 Bibles