How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Dean DeBlois (Book Series: Cressida Cowell)
Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harington, Justin Rupple
PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor
Buy on DVD/Blu-ray
As DreamWorks has struggled to dominate the animation marketplace after several high profile misses, their one consistent achievement is with the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. With its final chapter, The Hidden World, originator Dean DeBlois brings the story of Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) to a satisfying and emotional conclusion with plenty of excitement and animated splendor to spare.
After rejecting the dangers of dragons, the Viking village of Berk has seen a lot of changes since the first film in 2010. Having befriended a Night Fury, Hiccup is now leader of the community, succeeding his late father in the role. Under his leadership, the symbiosis between dragon and human has resulted in a peaceful environment that is nearly overrun with dragons.
While many of the great dragon hunters have fallen or have ended their search, Grimmel the Grisly (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) still roams the seas in search of more dragons to add to his brood, including the last specimen he’s never successfully captured, the Night Fury. While Grimmel threatens Berk and its dragon population, Hiccup’s companion Toothless is now seeking a mate in a surprising new arrival, a Light Fury. As Toothless abandons all reason and Grimmel looms on the horizon, Hiccup must find a solution that benefits everyone, finding the legendary Hidden World where dragons can live in peace beyond the reach of mortal men.
Animation has had few successful film series with Toy Story the only other grouping to improve or remain largely consistent over several outings. How to Train Your Dragon and its two sequels have done even better, improving with each new outing and creating a fascinating and cohesive whole. DeBlois and company have managed to succeed in ways few would have thought possible with the original film. Never relying solely on action/adventure tropes to tell its stories, the three films, culminating with the perfect The Hidden World, have done something truly special both individually and in tandem.
The voice cast is as strong as it’s ever been and the gorgeous animation continues to break new ground in the medium. Combined with the exciting and engaging narrative, this is a film, and a series, of terrific achievements. DeBlois has continued to impress audiences with his films by rejecting the staid and traditional narrative constructs giving us an adventure that feels like it would have been as appealing in live-action fantasy as it was in animation.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a joyous adventure with a bittersweet ending that even the Toy Story series should be envious of.
February 27, 2020