Vikings and dragons return for the third chapter of the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy. After a four year wait, the series faces its end with How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
Hiccup has now taken on the mantle of chief in his Viking homeland of Burke along with his best dragon-friend Toothless as the Alpha, or king, of all the dragons. As the Viking-dragon team continues to liberate and adopt more and more dragons, they find themselves becoming heavy targets of dragon trappers and the infamous dragon hunter Grimmel. The people of Burke along with their dragons are now forced to flee their longtime home in search of the Hidden World, a safe haven for humans and dragons to live in peace.
Hiccup and Toothless have always been the center of the films, but the third movie was able to truly display their beloved relationship to the fullest extent. As we explore Toothless and his new female counterpart’s relationship, we get to see the two best friends team up in new ways, outside of the typical shooting fire and fighting evil dragons. This allows their relationship to feel more authentic than in the previous movies.
The viewer is now also given a new look at the already beloved night fury, Toothless. His complexity as a character is explored prominently, rather than just being Hiccup’s dragon friend. This spotlight allows him to shine on his own, without downplaying the rest of the cast. Dreamworks has once again proven that they can make a speechless dragon more relatable and intricate than many live-action characters today.
While the wide cast of protagonists felt like they had been built up properly, Grimmel, the main antagonist, felt lacking in motivation and substance. Although this movie is mainly targeted at a younger audience, the film could have benefitted from a more developed villain. This is one area where the hour and 44 minute run time of the film starts to take its toll. Grimmel came across as a one-dimensional villain that was feared only off of stories and myths that were not shown on screen. He had no real background given to him other than being a dragon hunter with a feared reputation.
The tone of the movie was one of its strongest attributes. It was surprising to see such a well-balanced use of tone throughout this movie, using comedy, drama, and emotional scenes in a free-flowing and natural way. The ability to convey all of these emotions into an animated film just under two hours is a great feat that the series has succeeded with previously, but the third movie seems to truly capture and complete the complicated technique.
Overall, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a movie that everyone can enjoy. With the perfect mix of both comedy and excitement, the third installment provides a great movie for newcomers of the series as well as a fulfilling ending to longtime fans of this trilogy.