Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett
Director: Dean DeBlois
Running Time: 104 mins
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is an American film and the third in the How To Train Your Dragon series. After discovering that Toothless is not the only Night Fury left in existence, Hiccup and his friends set off in search of the mythical ‘Hidden World’, the land of the dragons, but find themselves pursued by a vicious dragon hunter.
The How To Train Your Dragon franchise has been the critics’ darling of recent years, and as it comes to an end with this supposed final edition of the trilogy, the successes of the series are hugely impressive to look back on. When it comes to this third film, The Hidden World, it is the weakest of the series for me, missing out on the unique and moving nature that made the first film so striking, even though it does provide an enjoyable and visually gorgeous watch regardless.
Let’s start off on that front, because if there is one area in which the series has only continued to get better, it’s the animation. Although Dreamworks’ style doesn’t quite reach the mesmerising heights of the likes of Pixar, Ghibli and Disney, there are still some devastatingly beautiful moments in The Hidden World that really hark back to the heart and soul of this series.
Particularly standing out with its depiction of the vast and endless nature of the sea and the sky, the film’s most moving and visually striking moments are also its quietest, where we break away from the main action for a more reflective and emotive moment alone, which is the thing that struck me most about the original film.
Unlike the first film, however, those moments are a little few and far between, as The Hidden World takes on its role as more of a family-friendly adventure-comedy. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that, and in similar fashion to How To Train Your Dragon 2, there are some hugely entertaining action sequences that mix in with great comedy, all of which is sure to entertain younger viewers, as well as spark a few chuckles from everyone else from time to time.
So, The Hidden World works brilliantly as a great family film, with a bright, imaginative and energetic heart beating throughout, but I couldn’t help but feel that it’s the weakest and most watered-down version of the core story, taking more time to focus on the action than the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless as the series comes to a close.
Again, there are moments where that part of the story is in full focus, and it really does make for a moving watch, but it pales in comparison to the dramatic power of the first film, and left me feeling a little underwhelmed in the end.
Overall, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is an undoubtedly enjoyable film, complete with good humour, fun action and gorgeous animation, however it’s also the weakest entry in the series, with a rather watered-down dramatic power that means it’s only ever genuinely moving for a few short moments, which is why I’m giving it a 7.3.