Everyone who reads my blog knows I am a Disney fanatic. The stories they tell never fail to tug and the heartstrings and leave you feeling a sense of pure joy and happiness. Animation has never had the same kind of effect on me with the Shrek or Kung Fu Panda franchises, but the How to Train Your Dragon movies have found the formula. The story of unlikely friendship, family, and learning your true identity has captivated audiences since the release of the original back in 2010. This installment is notably the final movie of the trilogy and sure does pack an emotional punch at the end. Let’s talk about it!
THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER-FREE
A lot happens in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, but it’s all jammed into a modest runtime of 104 minutes. I don’t often say this about a movie, but I really feel like it could’ve been longer. A few important segments of the plot felt very smushed together. The biggest event of negative conflict leads right into the final action scene with very little development in between. Sometimes I feel like the audience needs time to digest the things that are happening but we are just flung into another big scene.
This also has a little to do pacing, but just didn’t quite do it for me as the villain. Don’t get me wrong, I really think he had some potential, but there was little development of his story arc and his motive wasn’t very strong. Once again, with more screentime, I think they could improve those issues. I am hereby starting my official campaign for an extended cut to come out with DVD/Blu-Ray release.
I may need to go back and watch the other two but I feel like Hiccup’s friends were more imbecilic than usual. They were strictly comedic relief and by the end of the movie, I felt like I had been hit over the head a few too many times with a casual reminder of Ruffnut’s stupidity.
First of all, spectacular animation. SPECTACULAR. The smooth visuals and dynamic colors make for a really entertaining experience. There were multiple times in the movie when I felt like I was riding the Flight of Passage ride in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Park. If you haven’t been able to experience that ride for yourself then I’d highly recommend planning a trip to Disney. Everyone that has experienced that ride knows the high praise I am giving the visuals in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World by comparing it to Flight of Passage.
I thoroughly enjoyed the progression of Hiccup’s relationships with Toothless and Astrid. Those relationships are the backbone of the franchise and that still rings true in this film. Another thing that the movie does extremely well is referencing back to events from the first two movies. Both of these things made me feel even more invested because the characters feel like personal friends at this point.
John Powell composed another brilliant score that I will probably be listening to for weeks while I put off doing my homework. I was purposely trying to pay attention to the score because of how much I have enjoyed the last couple scores. The music did a great job at not being too dominating while also setting the mood for each and every scene.
A couple of the best scenes in the movie involve a style of dialogue-less storytelling that we haven’t really experience in the first two movies. The scenes involved Toothless and his Light Fury friend interacting and communicating. They are clever, elegant, funny and entertaining to watch and I would love to see more movies try their luck with this style of storytelling.
I have talked about a lot of different technical aspects of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, but when it comes down to it, all the really matters is how it makes us feel when the credits roll. Verdict…..This film delivers arguably the most satisfying ending to any trilogy I have ever truly gotten invested in.