Dreamwork Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon series has come to an end with the third movie being released recently. Viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his “night fury” dragon partner Toothless are the leaders of a Viking/Dragon Utopia, where humans and dragons of all kind live together in harmony. Once they discover that Toothless is not the last of his species through the appearance of a female “light fury,”, the pair must choose between staying together and splitting up to allow Toothless to be with his own kind. Meanwhile, a dragon hunter Grimmel, having killed every other night fury, is eager to finish the job by bringing about Toothless’ death. Therefore, Hiccup must bring his village and their dragons to The Hidden World, a realm at the edge of the Earth where dragons live in peace and security. If you were wondering if The Hidden World caps off this series on a high note or joins The Godfather 3 or Blade Trinity as a series ending on a wet fart, this article is here for you.
I like to start with the positives in movies, and like every HTTYD movie, the best element by far is the animation. The physics as the characters soar through the air make you feel like you’re flying right alongside them, and nothing seems copy-pasted: each dragon and human are doing their own specialized thing and each one feels and looks unique. The scenes showing dozens, if not hundreds, of dragons flying through the air is truly a sight to behold.
The relationship between the characters feel natural. This series has taken two movies and a tv show to develop, and all the characters grow in an organic way. Even if this is your first movie of the series, you can appreciate the character dynamics and relationships. The best character is the dragon Toothless, which is funny because he doesn’t say a word throughout the film. But his physical expressions and goofy nature create an endearing character, especially in the scenes where he’s trying to woo and impress the female.
The ending is also wonderful. For the end of a series like this, it really has to stick the landing, and while I won’t spoil it here, I will say the ending is very heartwarming and the perfect note to finish off the trilogy on.
The worst element by far is the villain Grimmel, who simply doesn’t need to exist. He’s boring, has a bland design, and this motivation for hunting Toothless is just a clique “thrill of the hunt” deal. This movie could have just been about finding the Hidden World and Toothless falling in love, and the film would’ve been stronger for it. Grimmel holds the movie back, to the point where I just want his character to go away and let me watch the interesting people.
Each How to Train Your Dragon movie has its own element to make it unique. The first one demonstrates the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless, in the second it’s the dragon colony and the villain, but the last one really doesn’t have a very distinct own theme to truly set it apart from most other kids films. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good movie and it’s well made, but it’s probably the worst installation of the trilogy. Not exactly a disappointing note for the series to go out on, I was just hoping for a little more.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World gets 4 stars out of 5.