Movie Review: How To Train Your Dragon – The Hidden World
Dreamworks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is an emotionally powerful end to the “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy that, for once, finally gives some love to its villain.
After director Dean DeBlois struck gold with his 2010 hit “How to Train Your Dragon,” a coming of age story in which the meek and wimpy Hiccup (an initially loser-like Jay Baruchel) goes against the tradition of his viking village, Berk, by befriending a dragon, whom he names Toothless. Hiccup’s story was continued five years later in “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” as he protected his village from the dictator-esque Drago (a shouty Djimon Hounsou) and became the leader of Berk.
Now, some unknown number of years later, Berk has accumulated an excessive amount of dragons and unintentionally earns the attention of a dragon hunter named Grimmel (a sly F. Murray Abraham). Grimmel, different from previous antagonists of the “How to Train Your Dragon” films, has enough screen time to become a compelling parallel to Hiccup.
And unlike Grimmel, Hiccup’s cast of childhood friends are once again kept as supporting characters or very satisfying comic relief.
For example, director DeBlois understands that people were tired of seeing devilish siblings Ruffnut (a rough Kristen Wiig) and Tuffnut (a tough Justin Rupple) get into overplayed fights, so in “The Hidden World,” he smoothly expands their character traits for a fresher take on what kind of humor they can produce.
Viewers, however, should be aware of Snotlout’s (a more-masculine-than-usual Jonah Hill) sexual interest in Hiccup’s mother, Valka (a nomadic Cate Blanchett). It’s nothing questionable for a PG movie and is funny in a darker way, but parents more prudent about what their children see might want to watch out for this arc of the film.
As for Astrid (a supportive America Ferrera), she once again focuses only on being Hiccup’s love interest to further develop him into manhood. Fortunately, Astrid compensates for her lack of dynamic development with an interesting character that is consistent to herself in previous entries of the franchise.
While there was definitely some improvement with the use of side characters, the 3D animation is an achievement in its own league and is definitely Oscar nominee material. Clouds, hair, facial details, fire and lighting effects all look hyperrealistic for a movie about humans and their dog-like dragon companions.
You know, it really is a shame that a movie trilogy about humans training dragons called “How to Train Your Dragon” never made a “Training Dragons for Dummies” companion book.
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Will Roach, junior, is the Opinions Editor for the Messenger. He is the president of the Movie Appreciation Club and is a varsity member of Speech and...