How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World

Universal Pictures is wrapping up its How To Train Your Dragon Trilogy with the release of the film: How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World, set to release on Friday, February 22, 2019.

The film brings back the same core cast of characters as the previous two movies, with Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), Astrid, (America Ferrera), Valka (Cate Blanchet), Eret (Kit Harrington), Gobber (Craig Ferguson), Snotlout (Jonah Hill), Ruffnutt (Kristen Wiig), Tuffnut (TJ Miller), Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), and flashback appearances of Stoic (Gerard Butler).

The story opens on what is supposed to be a “stealthy raid” but isn’t, quite.

We learn that Hiccup and his band of friends (both Dragon and human) are on a continuous mission to rescue captured Dragons from the poachers determined to capture and exploit them.

Hiccup and his friends then bring the rescued dragons back to Berk which is now a “Dragon-Viking utopia”. This arrangement, however idyllic, does not appear to be sustainable in the long-term. It is crowded and messy and Berk is just simply running out of room to house any more Dragons! Astrid and Gobber are concerned that housing all the Dragons on Berk makes the settlement a target for the Dragon hunters, endangering the entire community.

Hiccup is still exploring and reading his father’s old records, and remains convinced that there is “more” out there. He enlists Astrid’s help in finding the hidden world where he believes that all of Berk could move to, with their Dragons to leave in peace and secrecy.

After an attack on Berk, the rest of the community is convinced that Hiccup is right (even as he is not fully convinced himself of his ability to lead them successfully) and agrees to follow him in his search for the Hidden World sanctuary.

The story follows them on their quest and the dangers and successes of the journey to find a new, more suitable home.

The music, animation, and scenery in this movie is great. The details are phenomenal, from the characters’ hair, to the movements of the Dragons, to the Hidden World cave details, really show the attention that was paid in making this movie stand out!

The story line itself, as a continuation of the previous two movies, flows well, and follows an appropriate arc, both as far as relationships as well as time.

The addition of a new Dragon, and the relationship that evolves between the Light Fury and Toothless brings a new level of evolution to the existing relationship between Toothless and Hiccup, and plays on the adage of “if you love something, set it free”.

I laughed throughout the movie, at the dragons’ antics and expressions and interactions with their humans and each other. I held my breath in anticipation at some aspects, and heard myself say ‘oh no!” under my breath at one point as well. Dragons 3 drew me in from the start, and didn’t let go till the very end of the credit rolled. (We stayed until the lights came back up, and even the credits had me smiling with their small surprises!)

I found myself both wishing that this installment wouldn’t be “the end” as well as acknowledging that this story provided a fitting end to the series of films.

If there MUST be an end, this film wraps up the story nicely and provides closure, while yet leaving enough room to imagine what might come next.

I would give this movie 5 out of 5 stars, and while we did not see it in IMAX or 3D, if you have those options available, I would recommend that as well!


Second Review by Barnetty Kushner

A sweet, heartwarming conclusion to a trilogy beloved by so many generations. Is it possible for humans and dragons to live in harmony? Our faithful leader of Berk, Hiccup (Jay Baruchal) , Astrid (America Ferrara) and his gang spend their days saving dragons captured by human dragon hunters. After realizing that Berk is overrun by dragons, it’s become a target and the residents are forced to flee a place that has been home for 7 generations. They set out to discover a safe haven, the Hidden World-a land Hiccup’s father said existed at the edge of the world. Hot on their tail is the merciless dragon hunter, Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham). His life’s mission is to decimate the world of dragons, starting with the alpha dragon-Toothless. Grimmel uses a white Night Fury, a beautiful shiny white Night Fury to distract Toothless from Hiccup and complete Grimmel’s agenda. Watching Hiccup try to teach Toothless how to court the Light Fury was by far my favorite scene in the movie.

Director and writer Dean DeBlois has a knack for developing strong relationships between characters. Not just the lead characters, but the supporting character as well. From the friendships, to the love stories, and Hiccup’s relationship with his mother, and Toothless.

The entire film was visually stunning, wonderful to see how the animation has evolved since the first installment. A story about love and what we must do to protect those we love most.

4.5 stars