How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World [SPOILER FREE] Review
Updated: Apr 11
Since 2010, the adorable combo of Night Fury and small Viking boy have charmed audiences enough to create an entire entertainment franchise. From 3 feature length films, 3 television series’, 4 short films, 2 video games and even a live stage show, it didn’t seem like Hiccup and Toothless were slowing down anytime soon. However, the HTTYD (How To Train Your Dragon) cinematic universe has just released its final instalment.
Similar to many other DreamWorks’ animated IPs such as Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Shrek, the How to Train Your Dragon series couldn’t end after just one feature film. The latest and third release to fly into theatres is How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. The Hidden World is set a year after the events of How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 6 years after the first film. With each film, the characters and their relationships with their dragon’s evolves and their confidence grows.
In the 3rd instalment to the franchise, Hiccup is now the chief of Berk after (HTTYD 2 spoiler alert) his father Stoick dies in How to Train Your Dragon 2. It is here that he flourishes and turns the island of Berk into basically, a dragon sanctuary. The island is now overrun with dragons and its human inhabitants – as well as the sheep – are pressuring Hiccup to do something about it, as well as finally tie the knot with long-time girlfriend and fellow dragon rider; Astrid. Hiccup has an idea to relocate the dragons and Vikings to a dragon safe haven that currently only exists in legend. Whilst in the process of finding a new place to live, notorious dragon hunter Grimmel the Grisly uses a Light Fury (a pearlescent, female version of Toothless) as bait to gain control of Toothless who is currently the Alpha dragon. Toothless and the Light Fury get on incredibly well, however the Light Fury doesn’t trust humans therefore keeps her distance from Hiccup and the other Vikings. Back on Berk, Toothless becomes restless as he can’t stop thinking about the Light Fury. Hiccup and Astrid decide to find her again to hopefully coax her onto living with them all on Berk. Their plan fails and instead the Vikings are faced with Grimmel and his “trained” dragons who are adamant that they will not stop until they have the Night Fury.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World follows the usual HTTYD formula of a whole lot of heart and a whole lot of adventure. The film gave a long-time fan like myself all the feels and if it wasn’t for me trying so hard not to cry in public, I probably would have teared up multiple times. Just remembering a few of the final scenes now makes me extremely sentimental of how far the characters have developed after almost 10 years. I also really appreciated all the subtle nods to the previous films by using repeated dialogue and tropes. However, to call this instalment perfect would be a slight exaggeration. As this is the final film of the series, it is expected to introduce new characters and situations but also to wrap everything up neatly by the end. Which to a certain extent, it does. I just feel that the film introduced a few threads that I wanted to follow up however it ended before I had the chance to. It also seemed to have weird pacing, like one moment we were slowly creeping through the story and the next it was wrapping up ready to finish with a vague solution at that. I along with a few other fans are under the general consensus of great film but maybe not as good as How to Train Your Dragon 2.
Overall, this is a series that I’m going to miss dearly. The Hidden World contained everything I have learned to expect from a How To Train Your Dragon film which is a lot of emotions, great story telling and humour that doesn’t pander to just children. I think it was a good film to finish on however I was expecting a slightly grander exit. The filmmakers opted instead for an ending where you know that it probably isn’t 100% over and could spin off into a different medium one day, as I don’t think DreamWorks’ are ready to retire Toothless just yet. I’ll give How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World a 7/10 mostly due to my high expectations almost nearly but not quite being met. I will however miss the characters that I have grown up with and really wish I could see more of them in the future.
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