How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Review

Reviews Films




As Hiccup fulfills his dream of creating a peaceful dragon utopia, Toothless’ discovery of an untamed, elusive mate draws the Night Fury away. When danger mounts at home and Hiccup’s reign as village chief is tested, both dragon and rider must make impossible decisions to save their kind.

The third and final installment of the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy from director Dean DeBlois has flown into cinemas with The Hidden World, the continuing tale of Hiccup, Astrid, their companions and of course the dragons. It has previously been announced by the director that this would be the final film in this story, bringing an end to Hiccup’s journey, with a story that also dovetails into history explaining why there are no dragons in the world today.

With Deblois having mapped out a structured trilogy and having an end point in mind, this film was tasked with delivering a worthwhile journey to attain that endpoint and it does so effectively while raising the stakes, introducing an effective villain for this film, and progressing the overall story arc.

This is largely an event film, without much character development (other than by action) it relies on its position as the third act in a trilogy to capitalise on the previous stories. It opens with what appears to be Hiccup’s main goals achieved having established a safe dragon sanctuary. However problems quickly emerge and it becomes apparent that Hiccup needs to make some tough decisions to keep the future of his people, and the dragons safe.

The film introduces the character Grimmel, a menacing villain threatening what Hiccup has achieved. Grimmel is a sufficiently menacing character, played to great effect on screen, he escalates the threat enough to be worthy of a third chapter to the trilogy.

The writing for the film is clever however in that while there is the main antagonist, there is also a strong element of the heroes vs their environment, and other problems cropping up which need to be resolved, it is here where much of the emotional heart of The Hidden World resides.

With the main pieces in place, the journey of the film unfolds, visually it’s a great looking film, and there are a number of action sequences which are crafted in an entertaining fashion and will keep kids and adults engaged. The main character traits are all consistent with previous films so you can expect a good blend of humour and heart in terms of their actions and the dialogue within the film.

DeBlois who was also a writer on this film and the trilogy (based on a series of books) manages a few inter-related subplots here as well as the main journey so there is a decent amount going in for audiences to keep up with across the film’s running time.

Emotions run high in the final act, it displays a lot of emotion and heart in its final sequences. By the time the credits roll we have a fitting conclusion to both this story, and the trilogy, and while you could argue there is scope for further adventures to be told in this world, the resolution here is entirely satisfying as it is, and will likely leave some in need of a few tissues to clear up those tears.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, is a worthy ending for the trilogy, and an enjoyable chapter based on its own merits. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am giving it 8 out of 10, it’s in cinemas around Australia from Thursday 3rd January 2019.

Leith spent most of his formative years growing up on the coastal fringes of Western Australia without a cinema in sight. There he grew up on the wonders of home rentals before relocating to Perth and gaining access to a proper cinematic experience just in time for the Star Wars Special Edition re-releases. From there Leith's love of movies expanded to volunteering on a Star Wars fan film, reviewing films, writing about film news, and attending film and pop-culture related conventions on the other side of the world. Leith's favourite films are too many to mention but all start with the Star Wars saga, Back to the Future, the Dark Knight trilogy, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings and all things Kevin Smith. With an insatiable appetite for all things pop-culture related Leith also has an unhealthy addiction to the world of comics and can often be found buried under a pile of unread back issues madly trying to catch up on a number of titles coming out from mostly DC and Darkhorse.