After 2 critically and fan-beloved films, Dean DeBlois returns to helm the final chapter in the saga – How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Having just recently watched How to Train Your Dragon 1 and 2 and liking/loving both of them, I was looking forward to the Hidden World especially since the screenings were 3 weeks early, which generally signify a lot of confidence from the studio.
Positives – One simply cannot talk about these movies without lauding the animation style and once again, the filmmakers pull it off. The movie is so gorgeous to look at, especially the scene where Hiccup and Astrid first visit the Hidden World. That really was a jaw-dropping moment. One of the best aspects of this franchise is the growing “relationship” between Hiccup and Toothless and in this movie, Hiccup has to learn to let Toothless go once his lovable dragon finds a female of his own kind. The emotions were palpable and tear-inducing at times. After his father’s untimely death in the second film, Hiccup must learn to be a chief, a clear progression arc from the first movie. The third and final relationship was between Astrid and Hiccup and while it felt a bit rushed in the first movie, the filmmakers took time to flesh out their budding romance in the second movie and in this movie, there is a clear resolution to that. The score is once again composed by John Powell and it’s simply wonderful.
Negatives – What I am about to say might seem contradictory at first but just follow me for a second, will ya? The villain in the last movie was really generic and wanted to kill the dragons, and this is more or less the same in the third flick. The villain, Grimmel, wants to kill all the Night Furies and is opposed to the whole human-dragon “alliance.” Here comes the contradictory part though – this franchise works the best when it focuses on Hiccup and his relationships with Toothless, his dad and Astrid. So, even though the villain’s arc is a little hackneyed, I am willing to be more forgiving because the movie really succeeds with the main story. The movie also gives quite a bit of screen time to the ancillary characters, who are indeed quiet inept and obnoxious. Lastly, Berk becomes home to like 100’s of dragons on top of all the humans, which begs the question as to how was it able to sustain all that life despite overcrowding and limited resources? If only there was a Thanos in this world…
Rating – While the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy is not one of my favorites, it’s definitely one of the better ones, with each installment being a solid, heartfelt movie with spectacular animation style. 3.8/5.