- “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” arrives in theaters on Friday, February 22.
- The movie serves as a great ending to one of the best trilogies of our decade thanks to heartwarming emotional payoff, though the villains are still lacking and the first movie remains the best of the three.
Based on a book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell, the “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy is coming to an end with a heart-melting movie you shouldn’t miss.
Director and writer Dean DeBlois has crafted movie magic once more that’s certain to bring you to tears if you’re as invested in the love between Hiccup and Toothless as we are. Actors Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler, and Cate Blanchett return for this perfect endcap to the trilogy.
Why you should care: ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ is a must-see trilogy.
“How to Train Your Dragon” is one of the best family-friendly movie trilogies to grace our screens in a long, long time. Nearly 10 years ago, “How to Train Your Dragon” made its debut to critical and commercial success. In the years since, it’s been cemented in the canon of incredible animated features you shouldn’t miss.
The heart and message at its mythological core boils down to the importance of love and friendship and searching for the compassionate solution in the face of hatred and bigotry.
What’s hot: The storytelling neatly weaves together all three films for an emotional gutpunch.
While watching “The Hidden World,” the immense growth of the characters crystallizes with each passing scene. Hiccup particularly shines as a now-21-year-old man and Chief of Berk. His relationship to both Astrid and Toothless has adapted too, and the script smartly explores what adulthood means for both of those bonds.
Toothless and Hiccup’s endearing friendship has morphed into hybrid of a father-son or brother-brother dynamic that is both sweet, at times funny, but most importantly it is an incredible display of love and affection.
“The Hidden World” has a touch more action, the same doofy sense of humor, and soaring score from John Howell and Sigur Rós front man Jónsi that will make your heart sing.
Though the first movie remains the best in terms of tight, nonstop engaging storytelling, the final set of scenes in “The Hidden World” are an incredible culmination of emotional payoff. Don’t expect many dry eyes in your theater. Bring the tissues, and prepare to feel your heart grow about three times in size.
What’s not: So-so villains and a distracting cast change
The reason why the first movie remains the strongest of the bunch comes down to the conception and execution of villains – namely, that there aren’t really any. Instead the conflict comes from Hiccup’s own father and the clashing of traditional violence with innovation and peace.
But the second and third movies attempt to contend with outside threats which never feel particularly, well, threatening. While Grimmel is a better-developed villain than Drago Bludvist (from the second movie), he still doesn’t quite strike the right chord of terror.
Then there is the recasting of T.J. Miller’s role, Tuffnut, with comedian Justin Rupple. While Rupple does a solid recreation of Tuffnut’s voice from the first two films, the character is strangely given more screen time than ever which made the switch become more noticeable. This could lead to a bit of distraction, though it’s possible many fans will simply not notice.
But the downsides to this movie are far and few between.
The bottom line: Rewatch those first two movies, and then take everyone you know to the theater for ‘The Hidden World.’
So many themes contained within the “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy deserve recognition. The message of celebrating our differences, and how embracing change makes our communities stronger. The treatment of someone with a prosthetic leg as a hero whose physical abilities are not the most important factor in their lives. The upholding of sensitivity, problem-solving, and respect as the defining traits of what makes a good man, and more importantly, a good leader. The ethos that love and friendship will outlast hatred every time.
“There is no greater gift than love,” one character says in the movie. Well, a fantastic trilogy of movies we can return to again and again, through all walks of life, is a close second in our eyes.
“How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World” arrives in theaters on February 22. Watch the trailer below.