'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World': Review

By Ward, Sarah | Screen International, January 2, 2019 | Go to article overview

'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World': Review


Ward, Sarah, Screen International


The beloved DreamWorks franchise soars out on a high

Dir/scr. Dean DeBlois. US. 2018. 94 mins.

Capping off a lively and warm-hearted trilogy, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World delivers a crowd-pleasing finale to this beloved animated franchise. An eccentric community of Vikings, the colourful dragons they’ve learned to live with and love, and swooping aerial imagery all combine in this affectionate farewell to the popular series. And if it seems like DreamWorks is bowing out of a box office success a little early, knowing when to let go of something you care about is also one of the film’s main themes.

The Hidden World brings plenty of character to its child-friendly drama, with heart and laughs taking precedence over tension

Cressida Cowell’s books have been turned into 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon and 2014’s How To Train Your Dragon 2, earningover US$1 billion globally between them, figures The Hidden World will easily match. Debuting in Australia on January 3, it arrives primed for antipodean summer holiday viewing before launching on February 1 in the UK and February 22 in the US. Universal will hope that dragons can melt building blocks — in Britain, the film enjoys a one-week headstart over The Lego Movie 2; Stateside, it will follow its family-friendly rival two weeks later.

Before Games of Thrones and Vikings became TV hits, How to Train Your Dragon pre-empted the current fascination with winged beasts and Norse seafarers — just for much, much younger viewers. Under the guidance of three-time franchise writer/director Dean DeBlois, The Hidden World brings the series’ central pairing to its natural conclusion. Devoted audiences already know that the film’s two groups can live together peacefully and happily; however is that what is best for humanity’s new fire-breathing friends?

In The Hidden World’s predecessors, young leader Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) has always contended that dragons and Vikings can and should co-exist. And with good reason; while his heart belongs to long-term love Astrid (America Ferrera), well-trained Night Fury dragon Toothless is his best friend. …

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