Review: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
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how to train your dragon the hidden world, bannerPLOT: One year after the events of the previous film, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless, along with the dragon-riding friends, have been freeing all imprisoned dragons in the hope of creating a world where the two species can exist together in harmony. When a dragonslayer, Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), sets his sights on Toothless, Hiccup decides to move his village in the hopes of finding a mythical, hidden dragon utopia.

REVIEW: First, I must make an absolutely shameful confession – this is the first HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON movie that I’ve seen. Now, I know they’re universally praised and loved, but oddly enough I just never got around to them, with this actually being the first I’ve been sent to review for the site. I went in expecting it to be pretty good based on how highly my “Beard & the Bald” co-host Paul Shirey (also –my boss!) has been singing their praises (he’s a particular fan of the scores by John Powell), and sure enough this third installment in the series was good enough that I clearly need to catch up on the rest.

That said, even having not seen the other two, I didn’t have a hard time following HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD. They plunge you right into the action, but it’s not a terribly complicated world and the storytelling here is strong enough I was able to infer most of what came before without being too far off. Clearly meant to be the concluding chapter of this trilogy, it attempts to end the series on a relatively mature note, perhaps with the makers sensing that the kids who loved the first two are by now young adults. Thus, it’s a bittersweet lesson on growing up and the changing nature of friendship, with the villain Grimmel’s pursuit of Toothless actually being pretty secondary by the end.

Rather, much of the running time is devoted to the changing dynamic between Hiccup and Toothless, with the former having to come to terms with the fact that his beloved dragon isn’t his pet, but rather a creature with its own wants and desires. This is done by giving the Night Fury Toothless a female counterpart, a so-called Light Fury, who he pursues. So, a lot of the movie is about Hiccup having to let go of the fact that with both of them finding partners (with Hiccup on the verge of settling down with America Ferrera’s Astrid) maybe their adventures may have to come to an end. This is pretty mature stuff for a family flick, but it’s handled in a really delicate way, making this one of the best-animated films I’ve seen outside of Pixar.

how to train your dragon the hidden world, light furyOf course, the voice cast is ideal, with everyone from the originals (save T.J Miller for obvious reasons) coming back, despite being even bigger stars than they were original. Everyone from Kristen Wiig to Kit Harington to Jonah Hill is on-board, with Cate Blanchett reprising her role as Hiccup’s mom, Valka, from the last one, and even Gerard Butler popping up despite his character having been killed off in the last film.

I should also note that F. Murray Abraham, as the baddie Grimmel, is an excellent addition to the franchise. Abraham really puts a lot of vigor into the part; giving the character the most subtle lisp you’ve ever heard just to distinguish him a bit. It’s nice to see Abraham, whose AMADEUS still holds up as a classic, sink his teeth into such a juicy bad guy part. I could easily imagine him becoming an animated film mainstay.

So, while I can’t really say where HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD ranks in the series, I can say that regardless of whether it’s as good as the others, this is a totally charming animated adventure with a lot of appeal for the whole family. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to watching the other films in the series now.

Source: JoBlo.com



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