How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World movie poster

How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World

In theaters February 22, 2019


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110 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , , ,

In the same way I felt about The LEGO Movie when it debuted, How To Train Your Dragon was a welcoming addition to the age of computerized cartoons. It was a surprisingly heart-felt story about acceptance and expectation backed by a wonderful score and even better animation. Capitalizing on their success, DreamWorks produced an equally good sequel, as well as multiple mini-films and series of varied quality. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is an end to the film trilogy.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a heartfelt goodbye, but with its flimsy plot and uninteresting villain, the film tends to just drag on.

The film opens on a daring raid to unshackle captured dragons from (yet another) group of vikings bent on using the flying beasts for their dastardly plans. It’s a grand opening sequence – a hallmark of this series – of beautifully crafted action animation and witty one-liners. The Berkians, led by Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless, have shown their years fighting together has culminated into effective teamwork that’s no match for anyone.

Berk is at the height of its glory, or as Hiccup calls it, a “utopia for humans and dragons.” However, years of rescuing dragon-kind means Berk is full to capacity and can no longer sustain itself. Vikings and dragons are pretty clumsy after all. As the young chieftain weighs his clans’ options, and contemplates marriage to his girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera), his dragon meanwhile, has found a mate for himself, a Light-fury. Toothless struggles with commitment to his human rider and his duty as the alpha of dragons. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also an expert Night-fury hunter, Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), who wants Toothless dead. He is hot on their trail as the Berkians set out to find a hidden land, the only place dragons may ever live in peace.

This final entry in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is the worst. It’s a wholly inflated chapter in what has been an otherwise, great book. The least of the film’s problems is that there’s nothing special about the titular “Hidden World,” of which the film’s creators insert a flimsy mythos about an unreachable world believed to exist by sailors and could be inhabited by dragons. But the biggest offense is that none of these characters are ever in any real danger from Grimmel, the most useless undetermined villain in the Dragons’ stable of historically one-dimensional villains. Unlike his predecessors, he only wants to kill, but the writers offers no reason why.

To be fair though, my kids enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and chances are your kids will too. There seems to be just enough wacky humor there to hold their interest, but the older you are, the more you may find yourself checking the time. The final five minutes are the film’s best and gives fans their final goodbye. I recommend you wait for the DVD and skip to the end.

How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Chris Giroux
Chris Giroux is founder and editor-in-charge at Movie Reelist, an entertainment news and review blog serving the most fanatic moviegoers. Chris started his publication in Detroit in 2010 and has since reviewed hundreds of films and interviewed numerous talent across the country. He is an avid film festival attendee and red carpet photographer, having shot the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Mark Hamill, and more. Chris grew up in New Mexico, where he studied mass media writing while working in post-production and multimedia authoring. It is also where he discovered Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, resulting in an unhealthy Kurt Russell obsession.

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