It’s been almost five years since the last “How To Train Your Dragon” film premiered, when Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (voiced by Jay Baruchel), the young Viking, lost his father shortly after reuniting with his long-lost mother.
DreamWorks first introduced Hiccup as an awkward Viking teenager who wouldn’t kill a dragon, alongside his Night Fury, Toothless. The first film focuses on acceptance and friendship, that dragons and humans can live in harmony. The theme of the sequel continued to focus not only on acceptance and friendship, but also the significance of family.
Now, the threequel, “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” offers a tale of growing up, summoning the courage to face the unknown and how nothing can ever prepare you for letting go.
Hiccup, the new chief of Berk, has transformed the island into a dragon-friendly utopia. Although Berk is at peace, the number of dragons Hiccup insists on rescuing has caused the city to become overcrowded and unsustainable, with buildings toppling over from time to time.
When long-faced dragon killer Gimmel the Grisly (F. Murrary Abraham) shows up, threatening the peace in Berk, Hiccup sets out to find the mythical paradise, The Hidden World, a haven for thousands of different kinds of dragons, where his village and dragons can finally be safe.
While the first two films focused on Hiccup developing new relationships, this time the torch is passed to Toothless. The pivotal choice Hiccup faces is one he would not have had the strength to make years ago when he was a much younger Viking. None of the characters seen in the previous films are prepared for what’s required of them in Hidden World. It took the entire arc of three films to reach such a believable and selfless ending.
“The Hidden World” is a tender animated movie that proves every bit as emotionally resonant and artistically eye-catching as the previous films, if not more. The animation on its own is strikingly beautiful, from Hiccup and Toothless walking through photo-realistic flames in the beginning to the jaw-dropping caverns bathed in bioluminescence — it was like someone turned on a black light.
Along with its outstanding graphics, the melancholic score composed by John Powell flows perfectly and is consistent with each scene of the film. They even kept the original main theme that each movie had, along with giving the threequel its own opening theme song, called “Castle on the Hill,” written by Ed Sheeran, in 2017.
Even with its spectacular animation and music, no installation of the “How To Train Your Dragon” trilogy is complete without its memorable characters. Throughout the “Dragon” saga, Hiccup has grown the most, evolving over the past two films from a scrawny, awkward teenager to a seasoned hero. And let’s not forget the rest of the dragon riders, who have also grown and matured alongside Hiccup.
In the new film, audiences get to see dragons from past films, along with new dragons, some of whom are cute and cuddly, while others are terrifying and deadly. The design work for the new dragons is amazing, giving each one their own unique markings and color, plus different kinds of flames.
I’m not going to reveal too much about the ending, but I will tell you that it’s touching. The “How To Train Your Dragon” saga comes full circle, as every plot hole is closed and any questions you might’ve had will be answered. “Hidden World” is extremely emotional, as it provides a reflective look into growing up and gives audiences a gushy, heartfelt finale.
The story is almost perfect, with an adequate amount of feels and adventure to satisfy fans. It is, without a doubt, one of the best animated franchises since “Toy Story.” Like Hiccup, Toothless, the dragons and all the citizens of Berk, I was both happy and sad to say goodbye. Happy because it ended how I expected it would, and sad because, well, it ended.