How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Movie Review
So sue me. I didn’t like the previous How to Train Your Dragon all that much. It might have been because, if memory recalls, I watched it on a Saturday morning after a few too many drinks the night before. The good news is that I went into How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World on only one beer and found it to be a fantastically good time, a beautifully animated, energetic, and satisfying climax to the trilogy.
Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel, who thankfully sounds a little less like Jay Baruchel than previous entries - props to the screenwriters for throwing in a joke about his notably un-sexy voice, too) is doing his best to drive his tiny Viking kingdom into the ground, essentially playing hoarder to a legion of dragons who seemingly outnumber humans 2:1. Their village has attracted the unwanted attention of dragon hunters, one of which is a ruthless killer named Grimmel who has a keen interest in Toothless.
Also, Toothless meets a hot female Night Fury (a… Light Fury?), so there’s that.
After the last movie which featured an epic battle for a climax, The Hidden World has surprisingly smaller stakes--perhaps too slight for those expecting something massive and crushing to close out this revered franchise. The story is simple, streamlined, and heartwarming, one that rips at your beating blood jug with romance, the threat of loss, and more.
Yes, that means we’re subjected to an overly long scene involving dragon foreplay and lots of PG-rated head rubbing and cooing sounds.
The movie looks amazing, the animation crisp, organic and stunningly gorgeous throughout. The writing is equally strong, reuniting the franchise’s odd cast of characters for one last jaunt in an enjoyable story with smart and sometimes silly dialogue.
I actually could have hung out in The Hidden World longer, something I rarely--and I mean rarely--say about movies. The film spends surprisingly little time in the hidden world, so little that some may be surprised and disappointed that it serves more as a macguffin than anything else. The climax too feels abrupt, the fate of the characters only in doubt for about 30 seconds before they figure out how to overcome their deficiencies and save the day.
Still, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a beautiful, engaging, fun, and well told conclusion to the Hiccup/Toothless story, and should more than satisfy most fans of the genre. Especially those who didn’t go on a bender the night before.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.