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Old July 3 2015, 08:37 PM   #1
Christopher's Avatar
DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge discussion thread

The third season of DreamWorks Dragons, subtitled Race to the Edge, premiered on Netflix this week. I figured I'd start a new thread since it's fairly distinct from the previous two seasons, which were covered in this thread. Actually it's just the first half-season that's gone up so far, which makes for an odd binge-watching experience compared to other Netflix originals, since it just kind of trails off rather than coming to any kind of climax.

It starts off rather more solidly, though. It's three years since the end of season 2, and about a year and a half before the second movie. Things have been quiet in Berk in the intervening years, but the recurring villain Dagur the Deranged (David Faustino) escapes, continuing his role as the series's big bad. Also, in fighting Dagur, Hiccup discovers a mysterious artifact called the Dragon's Eye, which contains maps and data about new islands and dragon species, so he leads the dragon riders on a quest to both explore new territories and hunt for Dagur -- although they do much more of the former, while also establishing a new home base called Dragon's Edge.

The animation is mostly very good. The character models are essentially the older versions from the second movie, but with different clothes and less facial detail, though there are some improvements in detail from the previous models -- especially in Astrid's hair, which has become immensely more realistic. There's also some really good character animation here and there, though there are occasional moments where it seems cheaper. Still, this is a series that's often been quite gorgeously made, and that's still true of the new version -- even though it seems that moving the gang to an uninhabited island for most of the season may have been an excuse to save money by animating fewer characters.

Even though the characters are older, they're still written much the same as they were before, the cast is still the same (aside from Tom Kenny replacing Tim Conway as Mulch), and most of the stories aren't that different from what we got in previous seasons. But there are attempts to foreshadow elements of the second movie, for instance, showing how Stoick hooked up with his new dragon from the sequel, and having Hiccup start thinking about building his own wings. And I suppose the whole overall premise of the season shows the beginnings of Hiccup's mission to map the world as seen in the sequel. So it still meshes pretty well, I think.

There are a few changes I noticed now that this is on Netflix rather than TV. There's a bit less censorship -- there's more acknowledgment of violence and death (though not by much), characters sometimes say "Oh my Thor" or even "Oh my gods" in one case, and there's even an overt same-sex attraction in one episode that's treated as fairly normative (well, it's a source of comedy, but only in the way that any unrequited attraction would be, with the gender of the participants being a non-issue). Also, while the episodes are still the same length and have act breaks, the gaps are virtually nonexistent and the audio even carries over in some cases.

No word yet on when the back half of the season will be released.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage

Last edited by Christopher; July 3 2015 at 11:57 PM.
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