February 21, 2019 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Movie Review)
It has been nearly nine years since How to Train Your Dragon first soared onto the big screen back in 2009. After a successful sequel in 2014, a spin-off television series, and even a video game, the third and final installment in the Dragon saga is set to hit theaters worldwide on Friday February 22, 2019 through Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation. Sequels do not often live up to their predecessors, but How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is as charming a conclusion to an excellent series anyone could ask for.
Written and directed by Dean DeBlois (Lilo & Stitch 2002, How to Train Your Dragon 2010), How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World once again follows the story of Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel: Goon 2011, This is the End 2013) as he finds himself the leader of the Viking village of Berk. For those that have not seen the first two installments of the Dragon trilogy, what you need to know is that Vikings and dragons were once mortal enemies, but thanks to young Hiccup, his friends, and his adorable dragon Toothless, humans and dragons now live in harmony.
As humans and dragons learn to live together, Hiccup, now the chief of Berk following the death of his father, are facing an ever-advancing threat: dragon trappers. As Hiccup’s dream of creating a peaceful world becomes ever more difficult to bring into reality, he and Toothless discover that another Night Fury exists in the world. As the stakes get higher for Hiccup, Toothless, and all the citizens of Berk, these characters must attempt to discover the illusive Hidden World and make impossible decisions in order to survive.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’s story is so engaging that the film seems to fly by in an instant. Those who are already familiar with the world of Hiccup and Toothless will no doubt find themselves immediately drawn back in by the action, set pieces, and characters. Someone not familiar with the series would have no problem jumping in with How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, however. Even with a slightly cliched villain and a few predictable plot points, kids and adults alike are sure to be charmed by this story’s undeniable magic.
As soon as the movie begins, DreamWorks wows with its spectacular animation. From close-quarters fight scenes, massive set pieces filled with dozens of unique dragons, and breathtaking scenery, each frame is meticulously designed. The smallest grains of sand and strands of hair are given the same amount of detail and design as massive dragons, making the various locales of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World explode into vibrant life on screen. The animation given to each dragon, particularly Toothless, gives each dragon an entirely unique character. It is masterful storytelling and character design to witness character development between dragons with no dialogue, but it is no surprise that the DreamWorks Animation team nails it.
Top-notch voice acting perfectly compliments the animation, particularly the performances of ridiculous twins Tuffnut (Justin Rupple: Spider-Man Homecoming 2017, The Fate of the Furious 2017) and Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig: Bridesmaids 2011, Ghostbusters 2016). Wiig carries the film’s most hilarious scene entirely on her shoulders, and remains a major source of comic relief in a story as filled with laughter as it is with heartfelt moments. Thanks to help from Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones series, Seventh Son 2014) as Eret, Craig Ferguson (Saving Grace 2000, I’ll Be There 2003) as Gobber, and America Ferrara (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2005, Ugly Betty series) as Astrid, these actors breathe life into the unforgettable characters of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
Well-paced, hilarious, and touching, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World will do doubt leave audiences with misty eyes as it draws this trilogy to a close. Thanks to incredible animation, stellar voice acting, and an endearing narrative, this film may just be the best in the series—and that is saying something. Be sure not to miss it! For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 5 out of 5 stars.