How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
The black dragon Toothless and his Viking human Hiccup are back for their final big screen adventure. In it the Vikings are still silly and loud, the dragons are cuter and bigger, and the goodbyes are hard but sweet. DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (HTTYD 3 for short) is just right as a finale.
In the story, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) after becoming chief in HTTYD 2, is ruling over his merry men and women Viking on their Island called Berk. They are still rescuing dragons from human captivity and bringing them to Berk to coexist with its people. As Hiccup rules the humans, Toothless keeps an eye on the dragons as their Alpha. For those who don’t know Toothless is Hiccup’s dragon – the last of his particular kind called the Night Fury.
Everything is going well but Berk is running out of space. The dragons and humans are literally living over one another. Meanwhile the evil warlords, fed up of their dragons getting stolen by Hiccup, hire a cold blooded dragon slayer named Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham). Grimmel had crossed paths with Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) Hiccup’s late father, in the past, and he is also famous for killing all the Night Furies.
The warlord also have a secret weapon against Toothless: a white-colored female Night Fury who is later named Light Fury.
Grimmel uses her to bait Toothless way from Hiccup, so he could finally kill the last Night Fury in the world and also get all the dragons in one swoop.
While at Berk Hiccup starts looking for the fabled land of the dragon – a myth his father used to tell him in his childhood. Stoick, in his own youth, had once looked for it and even put together clues that might lead to its location, so Hiccup, his Viking friends and dragons go off to find the place.
While Toothless is distracted with his lady love, Hiccup is also nudged by people to take the next step and marry his ladylove Astrid (America Ferrera).
Dean DeBlois, director and writer of all HTTYDs (excluding the first, which he co-directed with Chris Sanders), has given all the aspects an underlying emotional core that moves the story with weight and depth. In the first film Hiccup is constantly down and not confident about himself because of his limp; this makes him, and people around him, question his ability to rule because of the larger than life persona of his father. Hiccup finding Toothless, trusting and training him, made him look beyond his limits as he learns to trust his abilities and ultimately himself. The same aspect of the story applies to his dragon.
HTTYD 2 made him face a big trauma of losing one parent while finding one and finally standing up as the chief. In HTTYD 3, it’s about letting go of loved ones when it good for them and not you, and taking new steps in life while trusting yourself. This, as we learn in the film, is a lifelong process.
The story progression and notions might be generic, but HTTYD 3 is successful at bringing gravity to the characters – as much as an animation catering to a young audience would allow, that is.
Visually HTTYD 3 is the best looking of the three; the fire, light and shadows are played with extensively and the aerial flights are beautiful. In fact, the whole world is vibrant.
HTTYD have been known as a likable, colorful and a wholesome franchise, that why it’s not a surprise the third part wrapping the franchise would continue with this staple. It is not dazzling, like the recent Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, or trendy as Ralph Breaks the Internet, or downright full of action adventure like Incredibles 2.
HTTYD 3, however, feels like a kept promise, because it sticks to what it is known for and does them well as the story comes to a satisfying end with a sweet epilogue. This is a fantastic end to an adventure about a boy and his dragon.