How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Review:
A Fantastic Finale
Throughout the history of cinema, there have been several monumental friendships. Sam and Frodo. Thelma and Louise. Bill and Ted. Now, the world has to say goodbye to one more, as ‘How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ concludes the age old legendary companionship of a boy and his dragon. Once again animated children’s films must teach the youth of the world that nothing gold can stay, and everything they love will eventually disappear.
Set one year after the events of ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’, the film follows Hiccup and Toothless each settling into their roles of royalty. Hiccup, the new chief of Berk, a now dragon-viking utopia, and Toothless the dragon alpha, the winged creature to which all others humbly submit. At last, there is peace, but not all are comforted. Hiccup’s pro dragon immigration agenda doesn’t sit well with local hunters. Enter F. Murray Abraham’s Grimmel the Grisly, a bounty hunter who specialises in hunting one dragon in particular: Night furies.
As Hiccup and Toothless brace to challenge the world, they also come to terms with their lives without one another. Mostly driven by the appearance of a “Light Fury”, which enamours the hopeless romantic in Toothless. This was something that at first glance is little more than a gimmick. After all, when the series thus far has been rooted in life or death scenarios, the slapstick will they or won’t they of two dragons doesn’t exactly fit. Yes ‘The Hidden World’ is the silliest of the three films, and yet it’s able to do so without undercutting its more serious themes. It doesn’t hurt that watching Toothless’ best attempts at woo-ing, is patently adorable.
Thus far, the ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ series has been about two things. 1. The complexities of managing aviary lizards, and 2. Change. Each film is dramatically distinct from its predecessor, both in terms of who the characters are and what motivates them. ‘The Hidden World’ continues that progression with the same pitch perfect balance of humour and heart-warmth.
Not to mention, an absolutely gorgeous film to watch. A blessing, since, ‘How To Train Your Dragon 3’ is the series weakest in terms of plot progression, as well as its side characters, who ultimately feel like afterthoughts when all is said and done. A sharp contrast from the main attraction of Toothless and Hiccup’s friendship, which has never been so compelling. Still as much as the film may have its weaknesses, it’s a sheer spectacle to behold. The film’s scope is ever expanding and infinitely creative in which it presents it, orchestrated immaculately by John Powell’s fantastic score.
It’s been 10 years, and taking flight with Hiccup and Toothless is just as exhilarating as it was the first time around. This final film is an extremely satisfying conclusion, one that chooses to place character above story, using the latter to further the former. To that end, even if you haven’t been invested in the journey so far, you’ll still be mesmerised beyond compare.
Rating: Big Screen Watch