How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)
On this trip to the movies, I was joined by my friends, Kim and John. I had seen the first two How to Train Your Dragon movies, whereas Kim hadn’t, and John had only seen part of the first film.
In future movie debates about “classic trilogies,” some time must be set aside to talk about the How to Train Your Dragon films. They’re that good. And unlike Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, or even Star Wars, this series doesn’t have a “weakest link.” They are all well written and directed, and have entertained children and adults alike.
In this third installment, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless continue to grow as characters as they take on the villainous, Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham). By the end of the second movie they had accepted the mantel of leadership of their respective species, and now writer/director Dean DeBlois brings this series to a logical and even heart-wrenching conclusion. Going into details on that point puts me in spoiler territory, so I won’t go there, but trust me, there’s a good chance you’ll be crying tears of joy by the time the closing credits roll.
The voice cast, as usual, are good, especially F. Murray Abraham as Grimmel, the series MVP villain in my opinion. The supporting characters are forced further into the background and only pop up to remind us who they are and what they’re about. Kristen Wiig, however, does arguably get the funniest moment in the film as Ruffnut, when she literally “annoys” her way out of a sticky situation.
There are some supporting villains in the mix, but they barely register as a presence in this film. They do hint at a broader Dragon universe that includes more Asian inspired character designs, but nothing about this film suggests director Dean DeBlois is interested in making more of these movies. I suspect, however, that we haven’t seen the last Dragon training movie.
The first film was about overcoming prejudices; the second gave Hiccup and Toothless lessons on leadership. This third installment is all about when the training wheels come off. As always, there are layers to explore, but The Hidden World never gets heavyhanded with its messaging. If you’ve seen and enjoyed the first two films, you’re going to enjoy this one too. This third installment also works as a standalone piece of entertainment for folks new to the series. It’s funny, moving, beautiful, and should keep the entire family entertained.
Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig
Screenplay by: Dean DeBlois
Rating: PG Running Time: 1 hr 44 min.