How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

HOW to Train your dragon: The hidden World

★★★

Rated on a 5-star scale.

I often hesitate to admit this, but the first How to Train Your Dragon is easily in my top five favorite movies of all time. I know right? But in all seriousness, I adore everything about that movie. I find the characters interesting, the comedy witty and enjoyable, and the story incredibly entertaining. It’s such a charming animated movie and I absolutely love it for that.

Hiccup and Toothless in HTTYD 3 | © 2019 Universal Pictures

The second movie in the franchise didn’t impress me all that much. While it was still good and I still liked it, it just didn’t have the same charm as the first one did, in my opinion. I’ve watched the original at least 50 times (sad, I know) and I could easily watch it 50 more. The second one I’ve seen maybe twice, and I don’t really have any desire to see it again. The story felt like most animated movies, with a pretty forgettable villain and big and flashy yet underwhelming action sequences. Though I have to say, the reuniting of Hiccup’s parents and Stoic’s funeral are both fantastically touching scenes.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World follows Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) about a year into his reign as chief of Berk. Having successfully transformed Berk into a marvelously overcrowded Viking-dragon utopia, Hiccup struggles to deal with his newly established position as ruler. When Hiccup and Toothless find a female Nightfury (a Lightfury) during a raid, a new threat to Berk and its dragons is unveiled, forcing Hiccup and friends to lead a search for The Hidden World, a secret dragon sanctuary rumored to be located at the edge of the world itself.

Toothless and the Lightfury | © 2019 Universal Pictures

Unfortunately, The Hidden World falls into the same mediocre area that the second movie did for me.

That is not to say that The Hidden World is a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. The animation is stunning. There is a scene that takes place on a beach about halfway through the film and I swear on my life you can practically see each individual grain of sand. Dreamworks have come a long way from the visuals of the first movie.

The characters are all still the characters we know and love, and Stoic the Vast (Gerard Butler) even makes a reappearance in a few flashback scenes. Hiccup’s mother, Valka (Cate Blanchett), has a fairly nonexistent role in this movie, though.

Stunning shot of Hiccup and Astrid | © 2019 Universal Pictures

One of the reasons I find these How to Train Your Dragon sequels to be not nearly as good as the first one is because of the voice acting. I don’t know if it’s just me but I really feel like the voice acting for Hiccup and Astrid (America Ferrera) has gone downhill ever since the original movie. Baruchel’s voice acting for Hiccup in the first movie is very funny and dynamic. Hiccup’s sarcasm and wit is almost tangible.

Ever since then, however, it’s become very plain and oftentimes even cringeworthy. Every line is delivered with either an annoying amount of enthusiasm or with confusion and frustration, depending on the context of the scene. The same goes for Ferrera’s Astrid. My theory for this is that the two actors got comfortable with the voice acting they had to do for the HTTYD television shows, which I’m sure were held to a lower standard, and ever since then they haven’t been able to shake it.

That being said, the voice acting from Baruchel and Ferrera in this movie is not as bad as I remember it to be from the second film.

But it’s still pretty bad.

The villain dude | © 2019 Universal Pictures

The villain in this movie is boring. Just plain boring. I don’t remember his name. Grimmel or Grimwald or something. Like the villain in HTTYD 2, he is not memorable whatsoever. If I’m honest though, he was pretty fun to watch in action. But does his character have any depth? Nope. Just a cardboard cutout of a bad guy.

Okay, enough about the bad. What’s good about it? As I said, the animation is phenomenal. Toothless is the same adorable dragon. John Powell’s score is great yet again. But the saving grace of this movie is probably its ending. I believe it perfectly and lovingly brings the How to Train Your Dragon franchise to a satisfying and fulfilling end.

If you’re a fan of the franchise, The Hidden World is a should-see, even if it’s just for the conclusion. Maybe I’m holding the movie to a higher standard than I should be because of my love for the first one, but I found most of this movie to be forgettable. Not bad, just not incredibly memorable.

The Verdict

Oh Christ, they’re heading straight for us, get out of the way | © 2019 Universal Pictures

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a fun-filled and touching final installment of the beloved franchise. While not nearly as groundbreaking as the first movie in the series, The Hidden World still manages to entertain with spectacular visuals and a decent story. Don’t be surprised if the only thing you remember from it is the ending though.

My Rating

★★★

Rated on a 5-star scale.

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