Sam Landstra—Staff Writer
The highly anticipated final installment of the How to Train Your Dragon (HTTYD) trilogy—How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World—exceeds expectations with a bittersweet ending to the story of Hiccup, Toothless and the rest of the dragon-riders from Berk.
One year after HTTYD 2, The Hidden World picks up with newly-crowned Chief Hiccup presiding over the island of Berk, which is nearly overpopulated with dragons rescued from hunters and trappers. The introduction of Grimmel the Grisly, a bloodthirsty dragon hunter bent on killing all Night Furies, forces the people of Berk to abandon their home in search of the Hidden World—the mythical birthplace of all dragons.
Amidst this quest, Toothless discovers the female version of a Night Fury, dubbed a “Light Fury.” This discovery, coupled with the romance of Hiccup and Astrid, provide themes of love and sacrifice as Hiccup and Toothless strive to be kings of their own dominion.
Jay Baruchel (Hiccup), America Ferrera (Astrid), Cate Blanchett (Valka), Craig Ferguson (Gobber), and the rest of the HTTYD cast return to voice their now-iconic characters. In addition, Gerard Butler (Stoic the Vast) adds nostalgia from previous films in flashbacks pivotal to Hiccup’s character development throughout the movie. The John Powell scored soundtrack yet again gives The Hidden World an epic, Nordic feel. While Powell could easily use themes from previous installments, he creates a new sound for The Hidden World and returns to familiar themes at the most important parts of the film.
In line with previous films and TV shows, The Hidden World does an excellent job of expanding upon the HTTYD universe. New dragons such as Deathgrippers, Crimson Goregutters and Hobglobbers reveal the creativity of the DreamWorks team. Clans of different ethnicities are also shown near the end of the film.
Despite its PG rating and younger target audience, The Hidden World contains sequences of intense action and touches on the complex themes of pacifism, sacrifice and relationships that appeal to older audiences. Nonetheless, cleverly placed comic relief from the likes of Gobber, Ruffnut (Kristin Wiig) and Tuffnut (Justin Rupple) keep the film from becoming too dark.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World brilliantly wraps up arguably the most iconic animated franchise of all time. For the countless people that have grown up with Hiccup and Toothless, their epic conclusion gives everything that could be desired. On a personal note, I was weeping by the end of it. It’s worth the watch.