The How to Train Your Dragon saga is an incredibly successful world of colourful movies, books and TV for children. So you might be surprised to hear the third film in the series, The Revenant., drew inspiration from a rather kid-unfriendly source: dark and violent revenge western
Don't worry -- you won't see dragons biting gory chunks out of the heroes, as a marauding bear did to Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. Rest assured that the visually dazzling and thoroughly joyous How To Train Your Dragon 3 continues the saga's heartwarming blend of family-friendly comedy and breathless animated action.
But the creators did aim to emulate some of the eye-catching cinematic techniques used by director Alejandro Iñárritu in the gruelling but visually striking 2015 western that earned DiCaprio an Oscar for Best Actor.
The Hidden World opens with a couple of lengthy, complex shots introducing the island of Berk, where Vikings and dragons now live side-by-side following the events of the first two movies. Filled with movement and stuffed with characters, these long-take shots are described as some of the most complex in the series by writer and director Dean DeBlois. While showing footage of these scenes to journalists in London last year, DeBlois laughed when he named The Revenant as the surprising inspiration for these ambitious shots.
It's still safe for kids though. Phew!
While the movie is perfectly suitable for little 'uns, DeBlois says this final film in the trilogy -- like the earlier entries -- embraces charged emotional moments.
"I want people to have the full spectrum," he said. "I want them to laugh in the funny moments, and I want to bring them to tears as well. I constantly say I'm most disappointed when someone comes up and says 'I almost cried in your movie' -- well, I failed then."
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World wings its way into theatres Friday 22 February in the US.