How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World
Having just raked in $17.5 million on its opening weekend, and receiving an impressive 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has proved its worth in the children’s cinematic world. However, this is a film that is not just enjoyable for children but for adults too. Granted it is set in a world with dragons flying all over the place, yet it is a powerful coming of age film that many will find engaging.
‘… with love comes loss.’ - Stoick
This is one of those few franchises where the second and third films are just as fantastic as the first! The third instalment is probably going to be the last to be made, but the ending ties up the story in a tear-jerkingly perfect way. The inhabitants of Berk find themselves and their dragons overcrowded and under constant threat from dragon trappers and therefore set out on a journey to find The Hidden World, which said to be ruled by dragons. A new love is found with the introduction of a Lightfury, and a new enemy is also made. This new enemy is far more skilful and barbaric than the likes of the main antagonist from HTTYD 2, Drago Bludvist, who was an amateur in comparison.
Animation-wise, as the films have progressed there has always been an improvement. Characters facial features and costuming are especially more detailed and upgraded, no doubt thanks to the developments in animation technology itself; Hiccup and his crew now don some slick looking gliding costumes made of shed dragon scales. Additionally, the new landscapes have been impressively thought out. Berk has been transformed from a pastorally plain place into a sort of metropolis, with houses and markets stacked on top of one another, suspended by wooden pillars. The setting shows how inhabitants of Berk have clearly adapted to having dragons in their life by living on higher plains and even building dragon friendly fish restaurants. However, The Hidden World is another thing entirely, it is a truly beautiful kaleidoscopic world that is very reminiscent of Pandora in James Cameron’s Avatar.
Another element worth mentioning is the soundtrack, it is very similar to the soundtracks of the first two films and so is wonderfully nostalgic with its Gaelic finesse. Some of the titles of the songs are My Best Friend, The Final Flight and Adieu Snoutlout… this shout be an indication of the emotional roller-coaster viewers are in for.
I would advise seeing HTYD 1 and 2 before seeing HTTYD: The Hidden World in order to fully appreciate the story and the ending. The effect just isn’t the same if you haven’t formed bonds with the characters via the previous films. (TOY STORY 3 SPOILER) For example, watching Toy Story 3 wouldn’t have been as heart-wrenching to watch when Andy gives the toys away and the stakes wouldn’t have felt as high when Woody and the gang were in the furnace unless you had grown with these characters in the previous films and developed a love for them. Of course, if you haven’t seen the other films, you will still feel the emotions but certainly not to the same degree. I felt like an over-sensitive moron for crying in the last five minutes of the film… until I looked over and saw my mother and father reaching under their glasses to wipe away some pesky tears. Furthermore, you will realise that all of the films are part of the same story arch and so need to be viewed as one piece.
For me, the only major let-down was Toothless’ new girlfriend: The Lightfury. She has no name and this fits with the fact that she really has no discernible personality, unlike the other dragons. Even Gobbers’ dragon, Grump, has a distinct lethargic personality… he falls asleep during flight for crying out loud! Grump certainly isn’t one of the headlining dragons in the series, he has less than 5 minutes of screen time, but his personality makes him more endearing than the Lightfury. Since the Lightfury is meant to be one of the driving characters that invokes a change in this film, it’s a real shame that she isn’t very likeable at all. Even animation wise, her appearance lacks detail and is in no way awe-inspiring once you get past the novelty of having a white version of a Nightfury.
I feel like an overprotective mother who believes that no girl will ever be good enough for her son, but that’s definitely how I feel about the Lightfury’s relationship with the wonderful Nightfury. Or maybe there is just some resentment due to the Lightfury disrupting the bromance between Toothless and Hiccup. Toothless’ attempts to woo the pearlescent Lightfury are rather hilariously pathetic, but aside from these few moments, the relationship between the two dragons seems, for lack of better word, meh. Aside from this, there is not much else to complain about for this film!
There is never a dull moment. Animation brings the world of dragons to life. In regards to the story, it has been carefully planned out, and gives some harsh lessons in love, growth, growing apart and selflessness. The end credits show images and scenes from the previous films to perfectly bring the film, and the franchise, to a bittersweet end. Reading the books by Cressida Cowell may be the next step for me to keep the world of Berk alive for a little bit longer.
Be wise and bring a packet of tissues to the cinema.
RATING: 4 ½ out of 5*
Age Rating: PG 13
Link to Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ7XUCQ6pbE