Ranking the How To Train Your Dragon Franchise
How to Train Your Dragon is one of my favorite movie franchises of all time next to Jurassic Park and Godzilla. The movies, shows, and short films are all just so amazing. I love dragons, but that's just the cherry on top. These movies are a spectacle of top notch animation and it also has really emotional and engaging storytelling and many memorable moments that make you want to revisit the land of Berk over and over again. However, how would I rank these films? Which are my least favorite and which do I consider the best of the best? That's what this carefully crafted ranking is for. Before I get into this list, this is only my silly opinion. If you don't agree with my list, that's okay. With that said, let's begin.
#11: Dragons Rescue Riders
Let me make something clear. I think this is a good cartoon. It's different from the other How to train your dragon movies and shows, but that doesn't make it not good. This show is intended for preschoolers. This show takes place in the same universe, but on a different island called Huttsgalor. It's about these two kid vikings called Dak and Lyla who can communicate with dragons because they know the dragon language, which is why the dragons also talk in the show, like a Dr. Dolittle kind of thing. There was also a dragon language in the original how to train your dragon book series. It managed to have the action and fun and good morals of how to train your dragon while also being lighthearted enough for preschool age children, like dragon tales for the new generation. It never talks down to children as if they're stupid. They're just exciting stories with good morals that children can understand. Definitely one of the better kids cartoons out there now. The reason it's the lowest on the list is because I think the main series of how to train your dragon is better, but still, this is a good dragon cartoon for children.
#10: Book of Dragons
There's not much to this short film really. It's just the short where the main characters talk about a book of dragons and go over 14 different dragons that weren't talked about in the first how to train your dragon movie. A good holdover for when the TV show would come out the next year. Pretty entertaining and informative, but not my favorite short. I think the other shorts are better which I'll get to soon enough.
#9: Dragons Riders of Berk & Defenders of Berk
I decided to group these two shows together since they're basically the same show. Riders is the first season and Defenders is the second season. These shows take place just after the events of the first How To Train Your Dragon movie, where the vikings are still teenagers. This show would be the beginning of seeing the how to train your dragon universe get more fleshed out and not to mention bigger, where we get to see new regions and all kinds of new dragons. Is it as good as the movies are? No, but it's still really fun and really entertaining to see hiccup and his friends go on a new adventure and encounter a new dragon. So if you love how to train your dragon and want to see more of the universe expand, check this show out. It's good.
#8: How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming
This was a television special that originally aired on NBC for Christmas. It takes place during the epilogue of the final How to Train Your Dragon film. It's a charming short film featuring grown up Hiccup and Astrid and their two children as well as Toothless, the light fury, and their children. In this film, the children are convinced that dragons are monsters, but Hiccup and Astrid try to convince their children otherwise with the Snoggletog Pageant. It's a pretty good special. Not the best special, but it's still charming, and I watch it every Christmas.
#7: Gift of the Night Fury
This is the other Christmas special that was released, but this takes place just after the first how to train your dragon movie. In this film, all the dragons leave Berk unexpectedly except for Toothless, who can't fly on his own. So Hiccup provides a way for Toothless to fly independently. Then when hiccup gets taken away by one of his friend's dragons, he finds out they were all flying to a place where they can lay their eggs and they have to help deliver the babies back home. It's pretty entertaining, and I watch this and the Homecoming special every Christmas. So check this short out if you haven't watched it.
#6: Dawn of the Dragon Racers
This short film takes place during the timeline of How to Train Your Dragon 2. The plot of this is pretty basic, but very entertaining. In this short, a sheep goes missing and the vikings go on an adventure to search for it, but they also turn it into a racing competition. Pretty exciting. So if you want to see more adventures that take place after the second movie, this is a good short for some action, adventure, and fun.
#5: Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon
Out of all the how to train your dragon shorts, this is probably my favorite one. In this film, Gobber's house catches on fire and he's convinced that a dragon called the Boneknapper is responsible. As the vikings accompany him on his journey, he tells them his stories about his encounter with the Boneknapper which the vikings don't believe. When the stories are told, it's done in marvelous hand drawn animation. You can just tell a lot of effort was put into this short. Then they come across a real Boneknapper dragon, and that's all I'm gonna say. This short is just awesome. A great special feature for the how to train your dragon blu ray. Check this short out if you haven't already.
#4: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
This is a great movie. Oscar worthy even. However, I don't think it's the very best of the best. In this film, an evil dragon hunter named Grimmel wants to kill all the dragons and lure Toothless to him to use as an alpha. The berkians decide to go on a journey to a hidden utopia for dragons simply known as the hidden world where they can be safe. Meanwhile, Toothless also falls in love with a female species of dragon known as a light fury. After they defeat Grimmel, they realize that the human world is no longer safe for dragons, so they let all their dragons go, undoing everything that was established in the first two movies which was bittersweet at best. I was a little let down that they went in this direction to conclude the franchise. However, it's still a great movie. It's very exciting, very funny, and has lots of memorable moments and the animation is beautiful as usual. Another problem is that I didn't think it was as paced as well as the first two movies. However, I still recommend watching it to complete the trilogy.
#3: Dragons Race to the Edge
This is the second How to Train Your Dragon TV show which was released to Netflix. This show takes place after the first movie and after riders and defenders of berk, but just before the events of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Like riders and defenders, the premise is similar. But it's also bigger and better by introducing even more human bad guys for the vikings to face. It fleshes out the universe even more and the best part is, this show lasts for six seasons and it never gets dull. Every episode is exciting, epic, and entertaining. Almost as good as the movies are, I'd say. Not only is this a great how to train your dragon show, this is a great show period. So check this show out if you haven't already.
#2: How to Train Your Dragon
The original movie that started it all is a VERY close second. This is a movie that means a lot to me. When this movie came out, it was the Avatar of animated films. This movie had breathtaking animated sequences that were even better if you saw it in 3D. It was unlike anything that was ever seen on the big screen before. I think what keeps me from putting this as number 1 is that the story is the familiar misunderstood creatures plotline where the humans think that something is a threat, but then the protagonist finds out otherwise and tries to convince the public that things are not what they seem. But it is still breathtaking, still exciting, and still fun and entertaining, and without this movie we wouldn't have had a great franchise.
#1: How to Train Your Dragon 2
After debating between which movie belongs in the number 1 spot, I decided that How to Train Your Dragon 2 absolutely takes the cake. This film, from start to finish, is absolutely fantastic. I find that this is my go to how to train your dragon film. This movie takes the how to train your dragon movie universe and really expands it. It takes place five years after the first movie, where dragons and vikings live in harmony. In this film, Hiccup feels pressure from his father to become the chief of Berk. Then they find out there are dragon trappers on the loose led by an evil villain called Drago Bludvist. Hiccup then means a female dragon rider called Valka, who turns out to be Hiccup's long lost mother, who has been rescuing dragons and keeping them on an island. As the film goes on and as tensions rise, it leads to just this epic and emotional climax unlike anything I've ever seen. You've just got to see this movie to know what I am talking about. It is just an amazing film period. Highly recommend this film, and highly recommend you check this movie out as soon as possible after you see the first movie. It is my favorite How to Train Your Dragon movie.
And, that's it for this ranking. Did you agree with my list? If not, how would you rank these films? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. God bless.
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