HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
Directed by: Dean DeBlois
Written by: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell (based upon the “How to Train Your Dragon” book series by)
Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harington, Justin Rupple
Based on the book series: How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Review by Andrew Dmytrasz
This is the third movie in the How To Train Your Dragon movie series and the conclusion of the franchise. The first movie came out in 2010, followed by the show Riders of Berk on Cartoon Network in 2012. Then came Defenders of Berk also on Cartoon Network in 2013. Race to the Edge on Netflix started in 2015 and lasted six seasons ending in 2018. The second movie came out in 2014 and picked up where the Netflix show ended.
This whole franchise is based off Cressida Cowell books of the same name. Going into seeing this, I had some high expectations for this movie after the amazing job the first two movies did and the incredible Netflix show. I was saddened when the show ended but couldn’t be mad. They did such an amazing job with it and tied it in beautifully to set it up for the second movie.
At the end of the first movie, we saw Berk becoming this ideal place where dragons and Vikings live together in harmony. At the end of the second one, we see Berk taking in all the dragons they can rescue. The beginning of the third movie, we see Berk overrun with dragons and Vikings alike. There are dragon trappers still out there catching and killing any dragons they see. Berk has become a target by freeing so many dragons. Our villain is hired by a group wanting to put a stop to that. This hired villain is also the same person who has killed so many night furys before. To escape this threat and the need for new land for the people of Berk, under chief hiccups orders, they go off in search of a new home, one that may only be a legend.
The story is well done and thought out. Although it has been roughly three years between each movie, it feels like they didn’t miss a beat. It does help that the Netflix show came out between the second and third movie, but the movies standalone well on their own. One thing I love about this series and this movie is that it brings back and continues a lot from the other movies without recapping a lot. Even if you didn’t see the other movies and don’t notice these slight nods, they are not vital or crucial to enjoying the movie and can enjoy the movie for what it is. The slight mentions just add to the overall story.
For a movie that is essentially a movie for children, it takes the audience seriously. It deals with some important topics but doesn’t try to downplay it. It gives you these rough situations of moving and leaving your home behind. You’re put into new situations that you have no idea how to deal with, trying to do the right thing when you have people counting on you. As tough as they may be to deal with, they don’t hold back and let you share in the experience with the actors, good and bad.
I think creatively it does good job balancing out things that adults and children will enjoy in this movie. People who were in elementary school when the first one came out and fell in love with it would be seeing this third one as they are going into university. The movie does a good job of having in its elements that everyone will enjoy.
Visually it is beautiful. Obviously, with a movie series that spans a decade, the technology has improved over the years. How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World uses this new tech to its advantage. From the first movie to the second movie I didn’t really notice too much difference in terms of animation and quality between the two of them. (Except for the fact that in the first movie they could only have eight characters maximum on screen.)
There was a major difference I noticed between the second and the third one in terms of the animation. Everything seemed clearer, more defined, more fluid (as much as it can be for an animated movie) with the movements and the landscape. The visual effects and technology really stand out in the movie when go to the hidden world. The contrast of colours there with the luminescence of the rocks just works beautifully to create this stunning underground world.
Verdict: Watch it!
This is a wonderful end to the series, full of emotion and heart. It is everything that you love about the series and more. The only downside to this movie is that the series is pretty much definitely over.