Movie Review Monday: How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
While it might be in its second weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World managed to still take the top spot at the box office this weekend. The film was written and directed by Dean DeBlois, who has written and directed every film in the trilogy. Jay Baruchel returned once again to voice the character of Hiccup while America Ferrera also returned to voice the character of Astrid. Some of the other actors who lent their voices for the film include Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, F. Murray Abraham, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, and Kit Harington.
Picking up a year after the events of the second film, Hiccup, Toothless, and his friends are rescuing dragons from captivity. Though this particular rescue mission is successful, they are only successful because of the help from their dragons. When they fly home with the rescued dragons, it becomes evident that Berk has become overrun between the dragons and the humans. Hiccup is cautioned that the overwhelming presence of the dragons will put a target on Berk, and it leads Hiccup to investigate more about “The Hidden World,” a safe haven for dragons that his father said existed. The problems on Berk are complicated further as Toothless encounters a Light Fury and infamous dragon hunter, Grimmel the Grisly, sets his sights on Toothless.
So, I found How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World to be a cute adventure that is suitable for the whole family. It wraps up the adventures of Hiccup, his fellow dragon riders, and the many inhabitants of Berk, and while not as strong as the first film, I think it is a worthy addition to the trilogy. The animation was truly stunning, especially in regards to the dragons and this hidden world that Hiccup desires to find. The voice cast for these films has always been fantastic, and this film is no different. There are at least a few great moments with every character in Hiccup’s group from Snotlout to Ruffnut, and I was glad to see each character either highlighted or given a running gag that suited the story. The addition of F. Murray Abraham as Grimmel the Grisly was a good call, and overall, I was pleased with the use of this character. He was not as much of a caricature as the first trailer suggested, and I appreciated that he actually had a decent strategy in his efforts to capture Toothless.
I found the true strength of this movie, though, to lie in Hiccup’s personal journey as the official leader of their people. He still has so little confidence in himself or his decisions, and he relies heavily on Toothless. This sets him up for a moving arc, and I like that this story boils down to the themes of identity and confidence in who you are. The story calls for sacrifices, and all of those decisions leave a meaningful impact on the audience. It leans once again into the friendship that Toothless and Hiccup share, which has always been the thread of the trilogy, but it also looks at the support that Hiccup has within his tribe.
While this standalone story is not as great as the first film, I thought that How to Train Your Dragon: The HIdden World was a cute and entertaining story to follow. The movie does drag in the second act, but the first act does a wonderful job of pushing our heroes and demonstrating why things desperately need to change. Humor is consistently present throughout the storyline, and the film ties up a lot of loose ends. Also, while I do not want to spoil anything, I will say that the ending is quite lovely and a perfect cap to a well told trilogy. I think that the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is the best from Dreamworks Animation, and if you are a fan of the first two films, then this last addition is worth a watch in theaters.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.