How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – 5 out of 5
The adventures of Hiccup and Toothless hit me very unexpectedly when the first film came out in 2010. The trailer made the film look like a lot of fun and I saw it in the theater and found a feature that was not only that but also something with heart and a lot of charm. Its sequel was just a great but also added another dose of drama to make it feel like the franchise was growing up and, like the first one, I loved it. I wanted to see the third film, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, in the theater but wasn’t able to get around to it sadly; however, with the franchise being 2 out of 2 hits for me, I blind bought the third film. I had no reservations about doing so and felt there wasn’t a single risk or gamble with this move and, as it turns out, the third film was another out-of-this-world hit for me and one that ended the franchise perfectly.
|I'm not crying, you're crying...and so am I. A lot.|
|Welp, this might be the coolest way to enter literally|
After the death of his father Stoick (Gerard Butler), Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) attempts to find his place as the leader of the people of Berk and continue to make it a human and dragon safe haven. However, with all the people and dragons, things are getting a little cramped and so Hiccup has become determined to locate the “Hidden World;” a secret location his father spoke off where dragons lived in peace. As he attempts to bring his plan into fruition, Hiccup and his trusty Night Fury dragon Toothless discover a white female Fury (nicknamed Light Fury by Hiccup’s partner Astrid—voiced by America Ferrera). This new female belongs to a devious hunter by the name of Grimmel the Grisly (F. Murray Abraham) and he plans on using it to bait Toothless in order to capture and kill him like he’s done with countless other Night Furies. Now Hiccup must team with his friends to stop Grimmel and find a new home for both his people and the dragons they care so much about.
|The Hidden World has "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" playing on a loop...which is amazing|
because this movie takes place in a time where that song didn't exist.
The Hidden World is the final film in the franchise and it closest out the trilogy in an immensely satisfying way. In more ways than one, the story is showcasing a “goodbye” in its narrative and through this illustrates just how far we’ve come with traditional animated “kids” movies. This film still has all the fun and excitement of the previous two films but also shows how mature it is as we see Hiccup and Toothless’ relationship evolve and grow. It’s strikingly beautiful the way the film doesn’t try to water itself down as it explores its drama and more emotional side. Each of these films have the sweet moments and teary eyed moments and this one is no exception but what makes this one different is how the story presents itself and mirrors how the characters are now older and more mature. With this growth, it delivers a conclusion that is bittersweet but also very heartwarming and satisfying.
|"The cute little dragon was able to find someone, why can't you?"|
My mom after watching this.
|Sweet beard, Hiccup!|
From a story perspective, the film is incredibly satisfying and wholly entertaining. From an animation standpoint, the film is just incredible. To prepare for this final entry into the series, I decided to watch the two previous films back-to-back and it’s amazing to see how the animation and design has developed. The first one still looks great but the level of detail they’ve been able to incorporate into the characters and the locations is nothing but astounding. The second film was a leap forward in this department from the first one and this third one is just another jump. The backgrounds are so colorful and lush, the character animations are insanely crafted and everything moves and reacts in a way that feels like a cartoon but also looks incredibly realistic at the same time. I love that with every passing animated feature I check out I am impressed with the work the animators and designers are able to come up with and this one definitely excels in this department.
|Oh damn, Toothless proved himself worthy and now has the power of Thor.|
|I'm including this because Hiccup giving the "thumbs|
up" to Toothless as he courts the Light Fury just
cracks me up.
Many of the same actors returned to voice the characters they initially gave life to in the first and second film—with notable exception of T.J. Miller being replaced by Justin Rupple as Tuffnut due to Miller’s unstable behavior IRL. The performers—Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig and Kit Harrington—are still delivering wonderfully and are able to have their characters express their growth and development that we have seen in the story. I also really enjoyed F. Murray Abraham’s performance as the antagonist Grimmel. Abraham really made the character a threatening and calculating villain that was very chilling. He knew how to be that bad guy that you love to hate but are also kinda impressed with how he is able to accomplish his dastardly deeds.
|He also has some pretty decent funny moments.|
While I’m bummed to see the trilogy come to an end (unless of course spin-offs start or new sequels suddenly go into production) I felt How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World closed out its story in the best possible way. Visually, the film is stunning and the cast is great and there are a ton of gags that are very funny (Toothless trying to woo Light Fury is very choice) but the heart this film puts on display and its exploration of the bond that Hiccup and Toothless have is really what made not only this film magical but what made this franchise truly something special for me.
|Let's end this review with an adorable screenshot of Toothless.|