When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first…
Contains some spoilers…
This 2019 “How To Train Your Dragon” film is the third & final installment of DreamWorks’ animated franchise starring Jay Baruchel, wrapping up a very successful trilogy. Taking place roughly one year after the events of How To Train Your Dragon 2, we get to see how Hiccup is doing as Chief of Berk.
I enjoyed the first HTTYD (2010) movie and I thought HTTYD 2 (2014) had a powerful & moving story that was executed beautifully. I may be missing something but I found HTTYD 3 to be underwhelming. With 4-5 years in between film releases, anticipation for each sequel has been high. And they sold me on the final movie at the “Hidden World” panel when I went to New York Comic Con 2018.
Yet, fast-forward to the present and I was not very impressed with the conclusion of Hiccup & Toothless’ journey together. I did enjoy the film overall but when it comes to trilogies, I do set the bar kind of high for the third movie. Maybe I was low-key waiting the whole time for the fully bearded Hiccup (who looks a lot like Jake Gyllenhaal, but I digress…)?
Let’s break down this movie’s elements:
Story: 6 – HTTYD 3 had a pretty bland story. Each of the 3 films basically had the same idea: getting the world ready to incorporate more dragons into everyday life. The first two Acts were a little slow-paced. The human/dragon utopia at the start of the film even bores the people of Berk… Enter the movie’s monkey wrench: a dragon hunter named Grimmel, who repeatedly reminded me of Hotel Transylvania’s Dracula… His goal is to raid Berk and take the ultimate prize: one of the last Night Furies (Toothless).
Characters: 7 – The voice acting was top notch. Everybody performed just as well as you’d imagine, or even better. The characters themselves, however, were on the weaker side. This might’ve been because they really wanted to highlight the relationships between Hiccup & Astrid as well as Toothless & the Light Fury. Everyone else seemed a lot less significant this time around, with possibly even less spoken lines. Even the antagonist (Grimmel) was forgettable and was more of a convenient plot device. But the humor was simple family fun and the interactions were enjoyable enough.
Soundtrack: 9 – John Powell composes the film’s score once again and delivers some great music. Really no complaints here. It’s the How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack we’ve all grown to love.
Production: 8 – A lot of what makes HTTYD fun is the action and the visuals. But I personally felt that the action was too few and far between, mostly saved for the end of the movie… and even then it was a very quick & easy resolution. But visually the movie was stunning. The animation was nothing short of amazing and some of the shots almost seemed too real! Great attention to detail.
Grand Finale: 5 – Ultimately this is how I felt when the movie ended. It was supposed to be this epic conclusion, closing the final chapter of the How To Train Your Dragon story, and send off the iconic characters in an amazing way. But unfortunately it just didn’t do it for me like the first two movies. I heard a LOT of sniffles and crying from both kids & adults. If I had to guess? This movie probably strongly resonates with people who have or had pets, especially if they had to give them up – neither of which are me!
It was a fine closer to the trilogy but in the end it fell flat for me. There were underlying themes of understanding self identity/worth and one’s purpose but I didn’t think it really reached its potential – there were just too many things happening at once that watered down the gravity of the movie. And though I do think HTTYD 3 is still a must-watch for lifelong fans, The Hidden World’s ending felt just as “official” of an ending as the first & second movies… Who knows? Maybe there’ll be another sequel way down the line!
P.S. There is no mid or post-credit scene!
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is rated PG with a running time of 104 minutes and hits theaters February 22, 2019.
Directed by Dean DeBlois.
Starring Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, and F. Murray Abraham.