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[MAJOR SPOILERS] My opinions on HTTYD3 - DO NOT READ if you haven
Topic Started: 03 Jan 2019, 02:40 (1596 Views)
LawOfTheSeas
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Defender of Insanity and Master of Apologies

Edit: Title cut off. It's supposed to say this:

DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM YET!

Heya all. So I haven't been on these forums in a LOOONG time (to my shame), but of course, with the release of Dragons 3, I just wanted to post my thoughts upon initial watching.

So, I want to begin by saying that the film isn't bad. I enjoyed a lot of it - the graphics, as we've come to expect from the HTTYD series, are spectacular and even somewhat of an improvement upon number 2. The characters who we know and love have continued to grow and develop, and are still interesting and, in the case of all of Hiccup and Astrid's peer group, serve as effective comic relief (Tuffnut as a particularly striking example - the sooner we get a "Tuffnut with 'beard'" emoticon, the better). The non-comedy characters, those mostly being Eret, Valka and Astrid, are played effectively, in an emotionally compelling manner. And the Light Fury was an interesting, if a little timid, character.

However, despite all of this good, I still left the cinema disappointed.

There may be some reasons for this - perhaps I let the hype get to me, and my expectations could thus never align with reality, or maybe I'm growing into an old and cynical grump. I don't know, really. But for whatever reason, I found myself disappointed.

There were some minor things which I did find disappointing. For one, while the character of Grimmel is absolutely awesome in terms of execution - he carries with him the air of a ruthless, single-minded killer which he is made out to be - he seems a little bit like a cut and paste villain to me. He is a Night Fury killer, but beyond the adoration of his village as he explains during the third act of the film, he never really shows a reason for his activity and beliefs. Additionally, he possesses what could definitely be described as "MacGuffin juice" - a serum from a particularly dangerous breed of dragon (not sure they're ever named) which acts both as a tranquilizer and as a form of mind control for said dragons (though it is also multi-purposed for other dragons too, as we see when he uses it on the Light Fury). Now, the fact this MacGuffin juice exists is reasonable given the story - Toothless is the Alpha, if he can just command Grimmel's dragons, then the reason for them existing is kind of forfeit, but it is still incredibly convenient for the antagonist.

The secondary antagonists as well were kind of paper-thin. I get it, they don't want to introduce too many new characters with depths and backstories. But beyond the incredibly nebulous aim of "taking over the world", they aren't given much depth. They appear to have been loosely affiliated with Drago Bludvist, and are definitely multi-ethnic - one, I would say, is Slavic, there's a woman who I would have pinned as Celtic, and there's a guy from where I can only assume is Japan - but beyond that and some very basic details about their personalities, they never really get fleshed out. Certainly, Grimmel was the main antagonist, it was his aims that the protagonists were working against, but I felt that they could have been given more attention without detracting too much from Grimmel's storyline.

I will also mention the music. Now, I am a MAJOR fan of John Powell's music, and I really think that he is one of the greatest composers in the modern age, and I know that sometimes you need to watch a film a second or third time just listening to the music to get a good understanding of it - heck, I never heard the best parts of HTTYD1 until a few viewings in - but I don't really feel like the innovation that we saw in the first two films was really there. In the first film, we were introduced to a lot of motifs that made their way into the whole series, and the music made a major impact on the story, and in the second, we were introduced to new motifs and reintroduced to old ones. But in 3, I didn't hear any new motifs. That in itself isn't too bad, but the use of the older ones also didn't grab me in the same ways as they did in 1 and 2. I did hear a rumour that John Powell was really tight for time on this one, which is why many moons ago there was talk going around about him not even scoring the third one, and so if that's the case, it's understandable, but even so, it could have been a tad better.

However, my main qualm with the film was the ending. I had resigned myself long ago to the idea I would be crying at the ending to this film. I originally signed the petition to change the planned ending, but I rescinded my signing - I wanted to be affected emotionally, I actually wanted an ending that really made me cry. At least, either that, or to find a way to make the ending happy. What we got, I think, wasn't really either or a mix of both... It was odd, seeing the crying on the screen as characters I had become extremely emotionally invested with part ways, and yet my eyes were entirely dry. It didn't feel as weighty as it should have done. Whatever happened in the film, it should have carried with it immense weight - this has to happen, there's no other way, and we saw a bit of that - Berk became overpopulated with dragons, it was starting to show up on the radar of other antagonistic figures, but I never quite felt that the decision to split them up was ever truly one that had to be taken, and I think that lessened the blow. It felt more like it was a matter of "we have to split them up, so let's find a way to do that" rather than "I have an incredible and emotional idea, and that involves splitting them up". The former can work, and I would have thought that in the hands of DeBlois it would have worked, but it just fell short for me.

I really don't know... Like I said before, maybe my expectations were unreasonably high, and that's why it fell short. I came into the films with low expectations, being a fan of the books and aware of the common adage that book films are rarely as good as the source material, and I absolutely adored the first. But then again, I expected high things from number 2 as well, and actually, despite what many reviewers have to say, I adored that too. It remains a classic, maybe not as amazing as number 1, but certainly good. However, this one just didn't hit that spot for me. I'm reading lots of '100%' reviews, others that say it's "almost perfect". I never listen to reviews, as what I go into a film for is different to what most people go in for, but I expected to love this film, and yet I'm not really in love with it.

I will also state that the end bit really confused me. This is REALLY spoiler-y territory, so even if you have read the rest of the post despite me telling you not to, turn back now if you don't want to have it spoiled too.

When Hiccup and Astrid pilot a boat out with their kids (adorable, by the way) to see Toothless and his Light Fury lover and THEIR kids (pretty adorable also), there's a moment when Toothless really doesn't recognise Hiccup. Now, I get it. At LEAST, seven years have passed, maybe more, judging by the age of the kids. Given that Hiccup and Toothless were only together for around six years (five from 1 to 2, one from 2 to 3) it's a bit understandable that there would be some haziness. But for Pete's sake, Hiccup's got a really notable voice, actually says "bud", and doesn't look all that different save for the beard. Eventually, Toothless does recognise Hiccup, but that lack of comprehension really doesn't bode well for the future in-universe. I dislike films where you can tell that things won't be getting better, but unless Hiccup now visits Toothless once a year, maybe a little less, I'm not sure as the memory greys that Toothless will continue to recognise probably the most important human in his life, let alone his kids.

Yeah, I don't know. Maybe my opinion is that of an extreme minority, and maybe it sounds like I'm just complaining. I really wanted to love this film, by all intents and purposes I should have loved this film, and the fact that I don't is a bit jarring to me. This does not colour my opinions of the cast, crew, creative team, etc., who I still think are amazing, but at the same time, it's weird having all of this disappointment.

Please, don't hate me for my opinions. For the most part, I can't change them alone. I will likely watch the film again at least once, and maybe my opinions will change then, and if anyone has any counter-opinions that they think are relevant, I would be happy to listen to them, and I want to. I want to love this film. I just... Don't.

So what do you all (who have watched the film) think about it? And if someone who hasn't watched it actually made it this far DESPITE MY INSTRUCTIONS, then I'd be interested to see if this colours your perception of the film positively or negatively. And yes, I know, I'm one guy on the internet writing about a film, my opinion hardly means anything, but I just felt I needed to share my opinions, to see if anyone else agreed. Not that much can be done about it, but just because really. Have a great day, watch the film if you haven't, and stay classy Forumvine.

Now, time for me to stop lurking.
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NightFury2001
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I'll start this off by saying that I haven't actually seen the film, but I know most of what happens due to keeping up with all the news (including things like the super spoilery Amazon book previews and Playmobil toys).

Anyway, you're not alone. I've been disappointed since I first heard the news that there was gonna be a white Night Fury lol. It's been downhill since then for me, which hurts because I want to love this movie...but it sadly doesn't look like I will. Between the Light Fury's horrible design and probably disappointing personality, not liking how Toothless and some other characters are being treated, not liking how certain relationships (like Hiccup and Toothless' friendship) are being treated, what seems to be at least a somewhat disappointing villain, giving characters unnecessary abilities, the animation looking a little...off, the ending not seeming to be as powerful as it could have been, the disappointing designs of the Night Lights (Hiccup and Astrid's kids are a little disappointing too), and crap like Toothless not recognizing Hiccup at first during the reunion, I really doubt I'm gonna like this movie very much.

It just doesn't seem like the finale this great series deserves.

I do have to ask about the soundtrack though, you said you didn't hear any new motifs but I thought I saw John Powell saying he made around 5-6 new ones? And I personally heard a new motif in the soundtrack preview he posted and in a short clip that was released. Do you think you just didn't notice them or...? Because the soundtrack is one of the only things I have some hope for lol.
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LawOfTheSeas
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NightFury2001
03 Jan 2019, 03:58
~snop~
Have to say, the animation is still pretty excellent, as are the designs for new locations. If you've seen the spoilers you've mentioned, then you'd know that Toothless does things like a mating dance, and despite being hilarious, it's also very well done, as are some other parts of the animation.

However, on the music front, it may well be that I didn't notice them. I didn't notice Forbidden Friendship until a while into the film, and while I usually notice film music well, in some circumstances I do neglect to notice film scoring, so it may just be that. I'll be going back and watching again, so I'll keep you updated and update the OP as time goes on.

But yeah, I'd have to agree with you there on thinking it's disappointing and not the best ending for the series... I had wanted to love it, I do want to love it, but I currently can't.

EDIT: Oh, and someone suggested to me that it was just me "growing out of HTTYD", whatever the heck that means. No. I watched the first two the night before watching this one, and still love them both.
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NightFury2001
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LawOfTheSeas
03 Jan 2019, 04:07
NightFury2001
03 Jan 2019, 03:58
~snop~
Have to say, the animation is still pretty excellent, as are the designs for new locations. If you've seen the spoilers you've mentioned, then you'd know that Toothless does things like a mating dance, and despite being hilarious, it's also very well done, as are some other parts of the animation.

However, on the music front, it may well be that I didn't notice them. I didn't notice Forbidden Friendship until a while into the film, and while I usually notice film music well, in some circumstances I do neglect to notice film scoring, so it may just be that. I'll be going back and watching again, so I'll keep you updated and update the OP as time goes on.

But yeah, I'd have to agree with you there on thinking it's disappointing and not the best ending for the series... I had wanted to love it, I do want to love it, but I currently can't.

EDIT: Oh, and someone suggested to me that it was just me "growing out of HTTYD", whatever the heck that means. No. I watched the first two the night before watching this one, and still love them both.
What I mean about the animation looking off to me is that it sometimes looks too "floaty" or "soft" if that makes sense. It's hard to explain. Some of the models look a little too "soft" at times. But it's not horrible and hopefully when I watch the actual film it won't be that noticeable.

Yeah, please update the thread when you see it again. I'm curious if any of your opinions will change.

Also "growing out of HTTYD" yeah no lol. I also still love the first and second movie and some parts of the TV series/comics/etc. so I KNOW it's not just me "outgrowing" it. Besides, HTTYD is made so both older and younger people can enjoy it.
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LawOfTheSeas
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NightFury2001
03 Jan 2019, 04:25
~snoop~
Ah, I see. Well, I didn't notice it. I'll look out for that too.

Yeah, HTTYD is amazing, and likely will always be. Growing out of it is completely inconceivable.
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Light Fury
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Hi. I have returned home after watching it. I loved the movie TBH. It did have some issues, sure.

Let me start off by saying the following:

While I enjoyed the opening scene, I dislike that they didn't do the "This is Berk" opening monologue done for the first two movies and ROB until after the opening scene.

I felt that Grimmel was an awesome villain, but could have been more present in the movie. However, given that the movie is supposed to focus on Hiccup and Toothless having to let each other go, and everyone else is basically supporting the story in order for that to happen, it makes sense.

Ruffnut was brilliant.

I cried. First it was sad crying because they had to leave each other, but that turned into happy crying when Hicstrid and kids went to visit. With regard to Toothless not recognising Hiccup, I have, what I think is quite a reasonable, theory. Toothless' job has been security of the entrance to the Hidden World, and so his first instinct has been to chase the ships away, or destroy them, and he never imagined he'd see Hiccup again. He recognised Hiccup by his outstretched hand, because that is when Toothless allowed Hiccup to be his friend. Hiccup was the only person to do that, and that was basically the way they strengthened their bond (e.g. at the end of 2).

With regard to JP's music, I noticed all of the new themes (and I'm happy that I made the right call with the cue he previewed, in that it was my theme : P. See my thread in this topic.) I also loved the old themes making a reprise, especially at the end.

My character design could have been better, but I guess they were trying to do the symbolic joining of opposites with Toothless and me. IDK.

Toothless' lightning invisibility was only seen twice in the movie, once as part of the romantic flight with Toothy and me. His ability to attract lightning was used in the final fight against Grimmel, but the invisibility didn't play that much of a role. My invisibility played a significantly larger role.

Like I said though, the focus of the movie is mainly on Hiccup, with Toothless being the second focus. It is far less of a group focused movie compared to 2 and even 1. I guess you just have to remember that before making certain criticisms. I hope you enjoy it a lot more the second time!


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Light Fury
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Also, the three baby Gronckles in the trailer/s was a redraw over our kids to keep that a secret.


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Cartoon Freak
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Given that it's quite late here, I won't even attempt to give my full thoughts now. But in short:

I'm part of the group that isn't particularly fond of HTTYD 2, for reasons that you've all probably heard from someone a million times by now. So that did likely lower my expectations for The Hidden World a fair bit. Based on what I'd seen, however, I expected a movie better than HTTYD 2, and honestly, that's what I got.

This movie is an improvement on the second one in almost every way. Every returning secondary character is vastly improved upon, the main villain is far more interesting and entertaining, and the movie drags.

My only issues of note are with the third act. The transition from second to third act is far too quick, and the physical climax lacks the spectacle of even the second movie, let alone the brilliance of the first.

However, it nails the emotions (which are far more important), even if it doesn't reach Toy Story 3 levels of tearjerking (by the way, Toy Story is still the best animated film trilogy, even if I prefer the original HTTYD to any of its entries), and I'll take that over a cool battle that doesn't mean anything any day.

In conclusion (for now), HTTYD >> HTTYD: THW >>>> HTTYD 2. And honestly, that's all I wanted.

Also, The Hidden World has infinitely more David Tennant, which is clearly the most important thing. ;)
Number of times I've watched the trailer: 18.

My pet peeve: people who refer to complete strangers by their first name. The correct ways to refer to a "John Smith" whom you have never met are Smith, Mr Smith, or John Smith. Not "John". He's not your buddy.
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Light Fury
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Cartoon Freak
03 Jan 2019, 13:27
However, it nails the emotions (which are far more important), even if it doesn't reach Toy Story 3 levels of tearjerking (by the way, Toy Story is still the best animated film trilogy, even if I prefer the original HTTYD to any of its entries), and I'll take that over a cool battle that doesn't mean anything any day.

Also, The Hidden World has infinitely more David Tennant, which is clearly the most important thing. ;)
I was never particularly fond of the Toy Story movies. IDK why. They never seemed particularly good for me. IMO, HTTYD is the best film trilogy of all time. And it will always be so for me.

More David Tennant is never a bad thing. "You brought a baby to a battle" ARGH That was just sooo...


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LawOfTheSeas
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Cartoon Freak
03 Jan 2019, 13:27
I'm part of the group that isn't particularly fond of HTTYD 2, for reasons that you've all probably heard from someone a million times by now. So that did likely lower my expectations for The Hidden World a fair bit. Based on what I'd seen, however, I expected a movie better than HTTYD 2, and honestly, that's what I got.
That may be my problem. I absolutely loved HTTYD 2, and came in with very high expectations. Perhaps this would be a good case study for expectations vs experience when it comes to films.
Cartoon Freak
03 Jan 2019, 13:27
My only issues of note are with the third act. The transition from second to third act is far too quick, and the physical climax lacks the spectacle of even the second movie, let alone the brilliance of the first.
I'd agree with that. It was a very quick transition.
Cartoon Freak
03 Jan 2019, 13:27
However, it nails the emotions (which are far more important), even if it doesn't reach Toy Story 3 levels of tearjerking (by the way, Toy Story is still the best animated film trilogy, even if I prefer the original HTTYD to any of its entries), and I'll take that over a cool battle that doesn't mean anything any day.
Again, it could be expectations vs experience at work, but I really didn't feel like it nailed the emotions TBH.

Also, I'd agree with Light Fury on this one, I've never been much of a fan of Toy Story. Again, maybe chalk it up to being cynical, but I also didn't find the end of Toy Story 3 to be very saddening. Perhaps I'm just an emotionally inhibited being, lol.
Cartoon Freak
03 Jan 2019, 13:27
Also, The Hidden World has infinitely more David Tennant, which is clearly the most important thing. ;)
Actually, that is true, it gets a few more points from me on those grounds.
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