How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.


Tagline – Their Final Quest.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Third Installment

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World starts where Valka teaching her son Hiccup along with Toothless to free more dragons from the captors that keep collecting them, the whole team works almost together, with the population of dragons in his home becoming difficult to contain.

When the dragon hunters are getting tired of losing their dragons, they call in Grimmel, a man that has been known to capture the most dangerous dragons, the night furies, only Toothless is still alive, making it seem like unfinished business, he uses an female night fury, one that Toothless falls in love with, can Hiccup finally become the leader he was always meant to be?

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

 

Characters – Hiccup is now the chief of the island, he is learning from his mother about rescuing more dragons, only to see more dragons meaning less space and a bigger target on his people for the dragon hunters. Once again Hiccup must learn about leadership, showing he will have to lead his own way instead of just following in his father’s footsteps. Toothless is the loyal dragon to Hiccup, he is meant to be the last of his species, only here he learns about a female night fury that offers him a love interest that will make him want his freedom from protecting the village, he is caught between his nature and his loyalty. Astrid is the partner of Hiccup, she is the one that can get through to him, as they are destined to rule together one day. Grimmel is most feared dragon hunter, he claims to have been the one that killed all the night furies and he won’t stop till he gets this right, he is used to the hunt and knows more tricks than Hiccup could ever imagine. When it comes to the villainous side to his character, he isn’t that much different to what we have seen before and does get overshadowed by moments revolving around Hiccup and Toothless relationship. Valka is Hiccup’s mother, she is watching her son learn to be a leader, seeing his errors, pushing people in the right direction to help him become the strongest possible leader. The Light Fury is a female version of the Toothless, one that is still wild and scared of humans, she offers Toothless a life away from the humans, one that brings love.

StoryThe story continues to the adventures of Hiccup and his people that live with dragons, they have continued to grow to help the dragons, but the new threat could bring an end to this world. in this story we get to focus on Hiccup needing to learn how to be a leader, accepting the next step for his people, while understanding the dragons can’t be kept as pets, they should become free with Toothless caught in the middle of staying loyal to the person that rescued him or his own love. Where the story does fall slightly short comes from the villain, who is meant to be smarter than before, only he just becomes like what we saw last time out. The story does give us a conclusion which will give us chance to be happy with the direction the characters go.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FantasyWhen we look at the action, we get massive dragon and human battles which is filled with carnage with the pure scale of the numbers involved, the adventure takes our village to a new home, where they need to find safety, taking the village on their biggest adventure to date. We do get plenty of comedy from the supporting cast through the film in this beautiful fantasy world.

SettingsThe film continues to bring us to new set of stunning locations that are just breath-taking that can grab your attention with the beauty.

AnimationThe animation in this film continues to be on the top levels, be it each different design for the dragons, the worlds created or the battle sequences that all look beautiful.


Scene of the Movie –
The Hidden World.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain is nothing new.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best animated film trilogies out there, one that doesn’t always get the praise of others, but it does continue real heart that will completely make the film like it matters to the audience.

 

Overall: The heart of a franchise, the beauty of the animation.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Sequel

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon 2 starts a couple of years after the events of the last film, the Vikings and dragons now live side by side, with Hiccup and Toothless exploring the open water searching for new land and opportunity. With Stoick is wanting Hiccup to take over a chief, Hiccup isn’t ready for this responsibility.

When Hiccup goes exploring he learns of a new threat, Drago a man that has a dragon army, wanting to create peace, Hiccup meets another dragon rider, his long-lost mother Valka.

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon 2

 

Characters – Hiccup is now exploring the surrounding world with Toothless, he goes far and wide, his discovery this time around will bring a new threat to his homeland and the dragons, while giving him a shocking discovery about his past. Hiccup is on the verge of become chief a responsibility he isn’t ready for too. Stoick is still the chief, he keeps the community together, though he is reaching the age of retirement, trying to prepare Hiccup to take over, he will be just as shocked as Hiccup when it comes to dealing with an old face returning to his life. Valka is the mysterious dragon rider, she has a vast friendly army that is only out to protect the dragon community, she is Hiccup’s mother who was long thought to be dead, she had always thought the same as Hiccup. Drago is the evil tyrant who has a dragon army, he wants complete control of the dragons killing anyone who doesn’t follow him.

StoryThe story here puts our character Hiccup in a new dilemma, one where he must face a future responsibility while trying to learn more about the world, using the dragons to see the world. as this is a sequel we get a surprise appearance from a character we thought was dead, the battles will become bigger much like how the world is becoming bigger for the Vikings. We get to see even more wonderful dragon designs. The more dragons we discover, the bigger the threat can become to the people of the world, it shows how people will need to fight for their people in an attempt to save their people.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action in this film is bigger than last time, the large scale dragon battle is breath taking to watch. The adventure in the film takes Hiccup to bigger and further locations than the original showing us how Hiccup is learning about the world. the comedy does take a step back this time, which is fine because we don’t need it with a more serious storyline.

SettingsThe film creates more beautiful locations that could only come from the world filled with dragons, each location has a unique look too.

AnimationThe animation as always is wonderful to see and will be remembered by the end of the film, the scale of the battles is special to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Alpha versus Alpha battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ruffnet’s obsession with Eret.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant sequel that is better than the original, it keeps us full engrossed in the next adventure of Hiccup.

 

Overall: Must watch sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Director: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders

Writer: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders, William Davies (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

 

Plot: A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed.


Tagline – One adventure will change two worlds

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Highly Entertaining Animation

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon starts as we meet young Viking Hiccup, he isn’t like the rest of his village including his all powerful father Stoick, the village has been getting attack by dragons for centuries and Hiccup is being forced to follow in his father’s footsteps.

When Hiccup’s form of defence is creating inventions, which could aid in defence, he wounds a young dragon known as a Night Fury, Toothless. Hiccup goes through dragon training he becomes top of his class from learning from Toothless and truing to stop the war between the Vikings and the dragons.

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon

 

Characters – Hiccup is the outsider of the community of Vikings, he is smarter than the rest and want to fight dragons using ideas which could change everything for the people of his village, he can’t match the rest of the villages strength and his dragon training sees him learn how to control and work side by side with them, can he help the village change. Stoick is the all powerful leading for the community and father to Hiccup, he will be first in line when it comes to fighting the dragons only he doesn’t know the anything other than fighting, he relationship with his son is being put on the line because of the difference in opinions. Toothless is the young dragon which Hiccup wounds, he is raised back to health and becomes friends with Hiccup showing the Vikings can be in peace with the dragons. Gobber is the dragon trainer, he trains the next generation of dragon killers and believes learning the hard way. We do get plenty of support characters which mostly add the laughs to the film.

StoryThe story follows the ideas of a son not living up to his father expectation with the world of Vikings and dragons. This is the simple version of the story and will be related by parents and children alike because we now parents would like their kids to follow in their footsteps, while the child will look up to follow and have their own dreams. Away from the morale side of the story we get a world filled with different dragons which have their own strengths and weakness with terrify the Vikings and the Viking community which is just doing what it can to survive. This might well be a simple story, but the world created is near perfect, it is a story people can relate to without even being part of the Viking community.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action in the film is big, this has battles on mass scales against the dragons which edge of the seat with peril. The adventure takes Hiccup into a world along side the dragons, one he never thought he could be a part of. We get comedy along the way too which only lightens to mood at times. The whole family can relate to the events of the film here which is important too.

SettingsThe film creates a world of Vikings which are at war with dragons, each element looks and feel authentic for the lighter version of the world.

AnimationDreamworks gives us a brilliant animation that could easily go toe-to-toe with Pixar for quality levels.


Scene of the Movie –
The flight with the nest.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best animations of recent years, it brings us a unique spin on the proving yourself to a father storyline we know so well.

 

Overall: Must watch animation.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

Director: Jan de Bont

Writer: Dean Georgaris (Screenplay) Steven E de Souza, James V Hart (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Gerald Butler, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Barrie, Noah Taylor, Djimon Hounsou, Til Schweiger

 

Plot: Adventurer Lara Croft goes on a quest to save the mythical Pandora’s Box, before an evil scientist finds it, and recruits a former Marine turned mercenary to assist her.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Enough Sequel

 

Story: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life starts when Lara Croft’s (Jolie) latest treasure hunt ends up with her team killed and her treasure stolen by Chen Lo (Yam) who is willing to sell the orb to arms dealer Jonathan Reiss (Hinds) a former MI6 agent turned evil, that wants to use the orb to locate Pandora’s Box which could bring about the next viral apocalypse on the world.

Lara working with MI6 is joined by disgraced former agent Terry Sheridan (Butler) as per her request as they race around the world to unlock the truth about Pandora’s Box before it ends up in the wrong hands.

 

Thoughts on Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

 

Characters – Lara Croft the treasure hunting heroine that travels the world to locate the treasure of the world before they fall into the wrong hands. She is still the kick ass resourceful heroine we know, we see how her connections around the world can help and hinder her quest. Terry Sheridan is the disgraced former MI6 agent, he is granted freedom for information and his former connection with Lara puts him in the middle of the two sides. Jonathan Reiss is the arms dealer that wants Pandora’s Box to be able to sell to the highest bidders to create chaos in the world. he knows how to get results and is happy to kill anyone that crosses his paths. Bryce and Hillary return in the same roles getting the laughs and doing the background work Lara. Kosa is one of the many connections that Lara has around the world, they are good friends after the previous work and respect between the cultures.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie continues to be great in the role of Lara Croft, she had the perfect look for the character and handled the swagger about the character perfectly well. Gerald Butler is good as the shady partner to Lara through the film, giving us rough around the edges figure. Ciaran Hinds is good in the villainous role even if the character is everything you would expect them to be. Barrie and Taylor continue to give the humour when needed. The rest of the cast are fine as they just fill the role required.

StoryThe story here follows Lara Croft on her next treasure hunt where she faces a new shady society lead by weapons dealer who wants to unlock the power of Pandora’s Box. We get to see her globe trot as she is aided by MI6 to locate the mysterious and deadly item. This does continue keep us in the peril filled situations, the idea that Lara has connections around the world to make treasure hunting possible, the shady organisation and treasure that could cause major destruction to the world. This doesn’t test us to the same levels as the first film because as it ends up just following the same formula.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is big as we have bigger stunts going on through the film including a motorbike sequence along the Great Wall China, flying through the streets of Hong Kong and giant monsters in Africa. The adventure does take us around the world once again which is what we want, but we don’t get enough in tomb locations.

SettingsThe film does take us around the world as we see different locations some iconic, some secret tombs with historic stories.

Special EffectsThe effects are weaker than last time without taking us too far out of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The Great Wall motorbike scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough Tomb location.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel that the fans of the original should enjoy, but if you didn’t like the first one you won’t be enjoying as much.

 

Overall: Solid enough for a sequel.

Rating

 

 

Hunter Killer (2018)

Director: Donovan Marsh

Writer: Arne Schmidt, Jamie Moss (Screenplay) George Wallace, Don Keith (Novel)

Starring: Gerald Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, Zane Holtz, Toby Stephens, Michael Trucco, Ryan McPartlin

 

Plot: An untested American submarine captain teams with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.


Tagline – Courage Runs Deep

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Subline

 

Story: Hunter Killer starts when two submarines are destroyed in Russian waters, one Russian, one American. Captain Joe Glass (Butler) is assigned the captain an American submarine for the first time to investigate what happened. RA John Fisk (Common) is running other operations including sending a marine team to a Russian Naval base.

When the American’s learn the truth that the Russian President is being held captive by the Minister of Defence and the race to stop world war III starting is on, with the mission putting the soldier against the odds.

 

Thoughts on Hunter Killer

 

Characters – Captain Joe Glass is the untested submarine captain who has worked every role on the submarine before and must win over the crew. He gets put on the mission to locate the missing US submarine which takes the crew into enemy water. He must make the difficult decision which needs to stay ahead of the Russian minds while going on a mission that doesn’t have any text books to go to. CJCS Charles Donnegan is the man that wants to get the answer quickest, he doesn’t care if the American’s must go to war to get them, he just wants the situation sorted, he plays into the worse case scenarios for the most part. RA John Fisk is running the operation in search for the missing submarine, he selects Glass, her picks the marines and he makes the difficult decisions from back home, challenge Charles all the way. Jayne comes from the NSA she is willing to share the secrets to get the answers required to make this go away, she is wanting a peaceful resolve of the situation.

PerformancesGerald Butler is strong in the leading role of this film, he has been questioned with his accents in the past, if there are any faults it is barely noticeable. Gary Oldman gets to do a lot of shouting and screaming which is anyone can do well, he is the man who can pull it off without going too over the top. Common does a good enough job in his role, he needs to keep the straight face which doesn’t let him get much wrong. Linda Cardellini is good too, showing us a strong-minded member of the government. We do have a good cast here, we have a lot of actors that you will recognise, and this is one of the final roles for Michael Nygvist.

StoryThe story here follows an US submarine that must go across Russian waters to investigate the missing submarines that were being tracked, the idea of the Russian president is being held by his own people who are looking to start the war, giving the American’s the mission of saving the president before the war begins. This is a tense story to watch because any wrong move could be cataclysmic consequences with the start of World War III. It does have a weakness because it does paint the American’s as the savoir of the world yet again. We do have a lot of different angles showing the story unfolding from the war room, submarine, outside the naval base and inside the base. They do all add up and add to the tension.

ActionThe action in the film comes from different submarines battles and the land mission which shows us military operations.

SettingsThe film keeps us the settings where we need them, either the war room, the submarine or the Russian base, we don’t need to see the other settings which shows us just how the events unfolded.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are a mixed bag, the action scenes are good, it becomes weak for certain moments where you can see the green screen moment.


Scene of the Movie –
The mine field.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are one too many, ‘just in time’ moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a surprise package of the year, it is a thriller that does keep us on edge waiting to see where things will go and can the world be saved.

 

Overall: Surprise hit of the year.

Rating