“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” stars Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Kit Harington, Justin Rupple, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, F. Murray Abraham, and Gerard Butler. Releasing on February 22, 2019, the film has Hiccup and the gang attempting to rescue the dragons from a vicious dragon hunter.
The film is directed by Dean DeBlois, who also directed “Lilo & Stitch” and “How to Train Your Dragon”. It is loosely based on the book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell, and it serves as the third and final installment in the “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy. There’s nothing more heartwarming than a powerful bond between a person and their animal companion, especially when the animal companion is a fire-breathing dragon. 2010 saw the release of the highly-acclaimed film adaptation of Cressida Cowell’s book, “How to Train Your Dragon”, a film that tells the tale of a friendship between a viking and a dragon. It was considered to be one of the best animated films that DreamWorks Animation had produced in terms of the animation and storytelling. Its 2014 sequel, “How to Train Your Dragon 2”, took the elements that made its predecessor a success and made them better, resulting in a worthy follow-up that’s slightly darker than the first film. Five years later, we now have the latest installment that’ll bring this riveting story arc to a close. Yes, my friends, as sad as it may be, we all must know that sooner or later, all good things must come to an end. I was really looking forward to this because I absolutely enjoyed the first two “Dragon” movies despite the fact that I haven’t gone back to them that often. To this day, I’m still trying to figure out why. Also, it looked like it could rival “Toy Story 3” as the best trilogy-closing animated film of all time based on the trailers and the early reviews I’ve seen. I was able to attend an early screening of the film thanks to Fandango, so this will be a non-spoiler review for those who are unable to go to that event. With that said, let’s dive right back in to the world of vikings and dragons and see if the film can bring the franchise to a satisfying conclusion.
The story once again follows Hiccup (Baruchel) and his friends as they continue to rescue dragons and bring them back to the land of Berk, resulting in a utopia that is seriously overpopulated with the fire-breathing creatures. Because of this, Hiccup decides to search for a secret haven for the dragons known as the “Hidden World” in order to solve this problem. When a dragon hunter known as Grimmel the Grisly (Abraham) seeks to threaten the peace between vikings and dragons, Hiccup must lead his people to the ultimate showdown that will determine the fate of both species. The “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise has been known for expanding the universe and exploring the in-depth relationships between the characters, especially Hiccup and Toothless. “The Hidden World” is no different as it offered a story that not only bids a gratifying farewell to the characters we know and love since the beginning, but also expresses its themes in a mature and intelligent matter. Like the first two “Dragon” films, “The Hidden World” had a proper mixture of humor and emotion that’ll impress people of all ages, including myself, without relying so much on just one or the other. The only flaw I had with the story was that it didn’t take full advantage of the high stakes that the characters are facing. The film was able to hit the right emotional beats and the character of Grimmel had enough qualities to provide a real threat to the main characters, but it lacked a strong sense of danger that makes people fear that their favorite characters might not make it out of the situation alive. I understand that they don’t want to make the film too intense for younger kids, but if Pixar can get away with almost killing off Woody and the gang in “Toy Story 3”, I don’t see any reason as to why DreamWorks can’t do the same thing with “The Hidden World”. Aside from that, I had a lot of fun hanging out with these charming characters for the last time. The main cast returned to reprise their respective roles, with the exception of T. J. Miller who is facing his own personal issues outside of his career. The main highlights of the cast go out to Jay Baruchel as Hiccup and F. Murray Abraham as Grimmel. Justin Rupple also did an impressive job filling in for Miller as the voice of Tuffnut. His impersonation was top-notch and his deliverance on the humor was an undeniable treat. The animation once again showcased the beautifully detailed landscapes of the film as well as the stunning flight sequences that’ll make audiences cheer for more. The animation is one of the main reasons why I loved the first two “Dragon” films, and I’m glad that I wasn’t disappointed with what it offered in “The Hidden World”. It was just as gorgeous and thrilling as I thought it would be. No more, no less.
Overall, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” successfully soared into the winner’s circle. While it’s not a perfect closure to one of the best film trilogies of all time, the film is still a heartwarming and passionate conclusion to an unforgettable saga that began almost a decade ago. The characters were fun and charming, the animation was visually breathtaking, and the storytelling had the right amount of amusement and emotion. This is another film that I wouldn’t mind recommending to the kids and their parents. Even the people who loved the other “How to Train Your Dragon” films will surely get a kick out of this installment. Special thanks to Fandango for hosting the advanced screening of the film for everyone to experience for themselves, especially me.