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How to Train Your Dragon – The Hidden World (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

How to Train Your Dragon – The Hidden World


Featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, F. Murray Abraham, Craig Ferguson, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Justin Rupple, Kit Harington, David Tennant, Robin Atkin Downes, Kieron Elliott, Julia Emelin, Gideon Emery, Ashley Jensen, AJ Kane, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson and James Sie.

Screenplay by Dean DeBlois.

Directed by Dean DeBlois.

Distributed by Universal Pictures. 104 minutes. Rated PG.

The coming attractions trailers for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World refers to this film as “the final chapter of one of the greatest film trilogies of all time.” I think they are overselling things a bit. I saw the first film back in 2010 with my niece and nephew. It was a very nice kid’s film, with some impressively well-made action sequences. However, I haven’t given the film a thought in years, and never had any urge to see the 2014 sequel.

Therefore, while it may be unfair to say this as I’ve only seen two of the three chapters, I think I can very safely state that I can think of many, many film trilogies that were greater. I can even think of computer-animated family-oriented trilogies which were better. (The Toy Story movies, anyone? Or Shrek?)

I think the producers have felt some pushback on that statement, though, because in the last week the original trailers have been replaced by new ones with no voiceover announcer, just clips from the movie.

Either way, the How to Train Your Dragon movies (or at least the two I have seen) are entertaining enough on their own. They don’t have to exaggerate their importance. They are perfectly enjoyable animated adventures with some pretty spectacular special effects. That’s good enough.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is even more of a straight adventure film than I remember the original one being, though that one too had lots of fast-moving escapades. The basic concept is the same – what if you had a pet dragon who was like the world’s biggest dog, except for the fact that he could breathe fire?

In the near decade since the first film, our hero Hiccup (how’s that for a name?) and his fellow Viking islanders have come to a detente with dragons, saving them from hunters and living in harmony together.

A group of pirates want to get the dragons for their own nefarious needs, and end up hiring a super-dragon hunter to capture all of the dragons. The only catch – he wants to keep and kill Toothless, the last of the Night Furies – and Hiccup’s personal best friend.

As bait they use a white female dragon of the same species – they call her a Light Fury – and of course we’re gonna have a little bit of dragon romance going down.

In the meantime, Hiccup and his Viking friends work desperately to save Toothless and the other dragons.

It’s all cute and funny and the special effects are often eye-popping. It’s also sometimes surprisingly emotional.

Greatest? Perhaps not. But it’s certainly good enough.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2019 All rights reserved. Posted: February 22, 2019

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