The final How To Train Your Dragon adventure dazzles Film Critic Alisha Shah, and neatly caps off this daring DreamWorks trilogy
The Hidden World is the final film of the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy by DreamWorks Animation. Following the events of the second movie, the island of Berk has grown into an ideal utopia with dragons and humans living side-by-side. However, with the pressures of overpopulation, as well as the dragons becoming a target of dragon-hunter Grimmel the Grisly, Hiccup makes the decision that they need to journey to the Hidden World – where the dragons would be safe.
First of all, it has to be said that this movie is stunning and lives up to the previous two films in artistic brilliance. Of course, the use of colours and the flying scenes maintain their sense of uniqueness, whilst still being a staple of the franchise. Particularly, the environment design expands the world – allowing us to visit visually rich new locations, and in this area, The Hidden World goes beyond its predecessors. The music is once more wonderfully scored by John Powell.
A trademark of the series, The Hidden World excels in executing seemingly simple storylines. The core of the movie focuses on the final leg of Hiccup’s (reprised by Jay Baruchel) journey, as he settles in as the chief. His relationship with his dragon Toothless is, naturally, the key to this. As Toothless finds his own place with his palette-swapped mate, the ‘Light Fury’ dragon, Astrid (America Ferrera) and Hiccup’s relationship also regains focus. It continues to be a genuinely well-written romance, especially by the standards of many other animated works or even movies predominantly aimed at ‘children’. This movie is emotionally attuned with the characters who matter, and its leisurely pace allows for the emotional beats of each moment to play out in full, thus cleanly executing three core character arcs.
The main problem with the story is that, because of its relative simplicity, there is a divergence from the core storyline, whether this be on generic villains or extended scenes of Toothless being cute for the children. Of these two, it is clear that the villain is underwhelming. Grimmel the Grisly (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) is a simple antagonist with little presence, though he is suitably threatening enough at times, and he does hold thematic relevance. The side-characters remain as side-characters, although some minimal attempts at storylines with the wider group is attempted and so at times the focus awkwardly shifts. That being said, the focus otherwise is appropriately on the main three.
The conclusion of the film itself is particularly long, but it does justice in tying up those respective loose ends rather than rushing the ending. The Hidden World is therefore a wonderful end for this series of movies. There is potential for future movies seemingly, but it is clear that the journey of Toothless and Hiccup is at an end.
VERDICT: A beautiful and touching ending to the How to Train Your Dragon series – this is a spectacular animated feature which is well worth seeing in cinemas as soon as possible.