2010’s How To Train Your Dragon and its 2014 sequel are two genuine modern animated classics. Adapted from Cressida Cowell’s book series of the same name, writer and director Dean DeBlois has created has created his own world and story, and has taken his time over all three films, not looking to rush them out.
The previous How To Train Your Dragon films have been successful and well received, but they’ve never hit the incredible heights in gross of some other animated franchise, whilst delivering two films that arguably blow anything that Disney, Pixar, or Illumination have been producing out of the water in terms of quality and heart. And that is a lot for this third installment to live up to, a huge pressure to give the franchise a worthy sendoff.
But boy does DeBois and the team stick the landing. Picking up a year after the second film with Hiccup now the chief of Berk turning the island into a utopia where humans and dragons can coexist. But this harmony has upset warchiefs looking to fill the void left by Drago in the second film, so they turn to a famed dragon hunter, Grimmel the Grisly. He’s a very different villain to those we’d seen before, methodical and manipulated, and driven by a pure desire to eradicate the dragons on Berk.
But what has always made the franchise so strong has always been the central friendship between Hiccup and his dragon Toothless, and this finale is no different. It’s hard to go into how their friendship develops in The Hidden World without spoiling where the film goes, but it leads up to an incredibly emotional, and satisfying finale that wraps up the whole trilogy in perfectly, really fulfilling Hiccup’s journey from outcast loner to a true leader, with the belief of his people behind him.
The films have also been defined by some incredible visuals, not to mention John Powell’s exceptional scores. Working with legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins on all three films has certainly helped shape the visual style of these films, and The Hidden World is no exception, it’s stunning beautiful, particularly when when the film reaches the titular hidden world. Powell too delivers another brilliant score in collaboration with Jónsi who provides vocals on some of the tracks.
Fans of the How To Train Your Dragon franchise are sure to be well satisfied with the ending that The Hidden World provides for the franchise, as DeBois delivers another beautiful, poignant, and superb film, and one that rounds out the story of the franchise perfectly.