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Review: “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” Tumbles With Too Much

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The saga’s plucky hero and leader Hiccup gives the standard introduction to his Viking village of Burke, now toppling and overflowing with dragons of all sizes bunching up to dangerous levels with the human Vikings. I can’t think of a more apt way to describe The Hidden World, the final entry (possibly?) in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy. There’s a lot packed into this story which simply can’t hold all these characters and arcs that the emotional impact of the previous films comes up short in this crowded fantasy.

See if you can keep track of everything going on here. Hiccup realizes that as the leader of Burke he can’t keep rescuing dragons and housing them. He also knows he has to eventually take his relationship with the warrior woman Astrid to the next level. He’s also going to have to say goodbye to his beloved dragon Toothless as the little black beast has found himself a soft white female of his breed. Oh, and there’s a villain after the dragons simply because he really loves killing them. Oh, and Hiccup’s mother may have to deal with competing men for her hand in marriage. And there’s a hidden world of dragons. And some more flashbacks of Hiccup’s father Stoic to ensure he’s in all three films.

That’s an awful lot of arcs to wrap up in under two hours. So it’s not the least bit of a shocker that in the film’s haste to add and finish so much, the impact of the greater themes about letting go and thinking of the future is more rushed than fantastical action sequences. We spend so little time with Hiccup and Toothless that when the inevitable moment of their departure dawns, the somberness didn’t hit me as hard. Nor did the passion of Hiccup and Astrid, both of which marry each other more out of requirements of the village than as meaningful of a relationship. I suppose the final film feels that between the two previous movies and lengthy series in between, all that ground was firmly covered.

Perhaps it has but there are so many lingering plot threads that made me think otherwise. I’m not sure why we need flashbacks of a younger Hiccup speaking with his father Stoic, reiterating lessons that seemed like they’d have a heftier impact in the previous film. The villain-turned-good-guy Erid seems to just linger around since the last film, not given nearly enough fun stuff to do with his ego and running mouth that must’ve been subdued between movies. And with so much going on, I’m surprised the film even bothered with the inclusion of Fishlegs, showcasing less and less of that dorky Dungeons & Dragons mentality.

It’s not that the film isn’t still dazzling. The world looks large and exciting, with Burke looking big and colorful with its many vivid structures and equally vibrant dragon populace. The skies are filled with loads of different dragons that soar, roar, and breathe fire. And for how repeated the location feels of a hidden world for dragons, I must admit it’s a gorgeous sight with its great color and lighting. The action hasn’t faltered either, boasting plenty of explosions and dragon attacks. Grimmel wields special dragon slaves that shoot an acidic goo from their mouths that seem to set anything it touches into flames.

But for all the flash and zip the How to Train Your Dragon closer features, it never quite feels like the goodbye it was meant to be. Too eager to wrap up its arcs before it bolts out the door, that special moment of great flight or tragic sense of loss and love never come about in a film that seems more like a light and frantic story in between the grander tale to tell. It’s still fun but on a level more relatable to a TV series finale than an epic movie conclusion.

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Have you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. 😉

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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