How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Film Review)

Before I begin writing about the third part of this trilogy, I would like to first address a few things regarding the first two films. (SPOILER WARNING of the first two films, SPOILER FREE REVIEW for the third film)

The first film which came out in 2010, is still my favorite of the trilogy. Mainly due to the fact that it did not have the standard “good vs evil” plot and did not have a proper “bad guy/villain,” except for perhaps Hiccup’s father, Stoick. The first film focused more on a coming of age story about Hiccup and the special bond he has with Toothless. AND THE MUSICAL SCORE, wow I loved the music throughout the film, and they kept using it for the other films as well as the TV show.

The second film, although with some truly emotional moments (Stoick’s death at the hand of Toothless, Hiccup finding his mother, Toothless becoming the Alpha) does sort of fall into the equational trap of most standard heroic films. Which is fine, the entire MCU is built on that equation, and most animated films are too. But that is what set the first HTTYD film apart from the second. While I still enjoyed the second film, I found it slightly flat narratively compared to the first.

The Hidden World, the conclusion to this heartwarming and touching trilogy is a film sure to be remembered. While the film does start and end on high notes, it is the entire second act that feels quite derivative. Again this is a spoiler free review so I will not go into plot points.

Opening sequence of the film

At the start of the film we are treated to a well choreographed single take action sequence. Even though it is an animated film, it is still wonderful to see a nice long take done right. Another animated film that I feel did a great long take was The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. If you haven’t seen that film, it’s worth checking out, at least for the long take.

The colorful palette of the film during the first act.

“Thou shalt not deviate.”
The Hidden World starts very colorfully and as the narrative tone changes after the first act, so does the palette, but then once again shifts towards the third act. The first act does also show the large scale of the film and the large growth of the village of Berk. I do not want to go into spoiler territory but I will say this, the last 30 min of the film is quite an emotional journey. I actually teared up twice during the end of the film, for me it has been a 9 year journey of Hiccup and Toothless and this film has a fitting end and conclusion that gave justice to such a beautiful cinematic bond of characters. Once again, the same as the other 2 films before, the highlight of this film is the characterization of Toothless, his bond with Hiccup, and the musical score that elevates emotional and motivational moments of the film. Overall I recommend this film to all those who are fans of the franchise, and to those who haven’t seen the previous films I would say that you are missing out on a great animated trilogy.

Rating:

I am giving How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World an 8 out of 10.
Highly recommend it even though it’s not the best in the trilogy, it does give it’s fans and audience a perfect closure to a beloved franchise.

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