By Dallin Curtis
WHAT’S HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD ABOUT?
In this third and final entry of DreamWorks Animation’s popular franchise, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) must lead and defend his village from a ruthless villain who wants to eradicate all dragons. Meanwhile, Hiccup’s best friend, a dragon named Toothless, meets and develops a romantic relationship with a Light Fury.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Similar to the two previous films, The Hidden World runs at it’s own relaxed pace. It doesn’t jump from one action sequence to another. The pacing is deliberate, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the story, themes, and characters. Jay Baruchel turns in one last great voice-over performance as Hiccup as does America Ferrera who voices Hiccup’s girlfriend, Astrid. Toothless has more personal growth in this film compared to the last two. His courtship of the Light Fury provides the film’s best comedy as Toothless tries everything he can to impress her. Not only is it funny, it’s also incredibly endearing.
The film isn’t all fun and games. For as joyful as it gets, The Hidden World also delivers on the danger as our heroes our forced to make sacrifices before the credits role. These films aren’t particularly known for their villains. The first film didn’t really have one, but the second did and I found that one compelling. For a main antagonist, The Hidden World gives us Grimmel, voiced by F. Murray Abraham. The best thing about Grimmel is that he doesn’t blend in with traditional film antagonists. Sure, he’s cunning and presents an opinion that directly opposes Hiccup’s point of view, but the fun of Grimmel is that he’s not above partaking in the humor. The filmmakers don’t take him too seriously, so the character is a cause for many clever and comical jokes.
As many filmmakers push the frontier of animated filmmaking, it’s wonderful to see DreamWorks up their game. The character designs aren’t significantly different from the last two films, but everything has an added level of detail to them. When we first lay eyes on Berk in the film, it’s a stunning mash-up of vibrant colors. The landscapes are picture-perfect and the flying sequences are beyond immersive. These are qualities that each film has excelled at since the beginning, but it’s particularly exciting to see the technology improve with each film. Without giving away too much, the titular Hidden World will drop the jaws of every animation fan. It’s that perfect. Just thinking about the stunning imagery makes me want to see this movie again and in 3D.
Composer John Powell, an underrated contributor to this franchise, has crafted some of his best scores in these How to Train Your Dragon films and that doesn’t change with The Hidden World. His score is as grandiose as ever, with it always amplifying the emotion between characters, be it in comedic, dramatic, or romantic moments.
The first two How to Train Your Dragon films are some of the best that DreamWorks Animation has ever produced and thankfully, the third film wraps up the now-trilogy in an emotional, exquisite, and ultimately rewarding package. It’s fair to point out that your enjoyment of this film depends on your affiliation with the rest of the franchise in the past. If you have not yet seen or have lightly dabbled in the tales of Hiccup and his dragon pal, Toothless, you might leave The Hidden World thinking that it’s merely a good movie. However, if you, like me, have been following this film series since its start back in 2010, you’re reaction may be similar to mine. That reaction being, “What a perfect ending!”
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS? (RATED PG)
Just like the first two entries, there are multiple action sequences involving both humans and dragons. There are fiery explosions, but a majority of them are played for laughs. A small group of dragons are legitimately menacing and spit some acid, but nothing graphic occurs. The villain injects a special serum into a select number of dragons in order to have them obey his will, but it’s nothing disturbing. There’s no sexual content outside of some flirting, kissing, and a talk about marriage. The amount of profanity is light. It mostly consists of name-calling and other mild insults. The worst it gets are a few characters saying OMG. Even still, children six and above should be able to watch this film with no problems.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
Yes, and many of the positive messages in this film stem from the lead character, Hiccup. He’s one of the few lead male characters who does not conform to the traditional tropes seen in other male heroes. He’s intelligent, always prefers to solve conflicts peacefully, and shows bravery and admirable leadership skills continually. His ability to rely on his friends and family in time of crisis is one of his most commendable traits. The film itself is full of wholesome messages that relate to love, sacrifice, and selflessness.