How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

A scene in the film How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. (Universal Pictures)
A scene in the film How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. (Universal Pictures)


What began as an unlikely friendship between an adolescent Viking and a fearsome Night Fury dragon has become an epic trilogy spanning their lives. In this next chapter, Hiccup and Toothless will finally discover their true destinies: The village chief, as ruler of Berk, alongside Astrid, and the dragon as leader of his own kind. As both ascend, the darkest threat they’ve yet faced—as well as the appearance of a female Night Fury — will test the bonds of their relationship like never before.


When we first met Hiccup - the scrawny son of a chief that doesn’t quite feel like he belongs in his village - we learnt that people answer with violence to those they don’t understand. In the second instalment, Hiccup is a little older, a little more experienced, and we got our hearts handed to us, but we persevered through love.

Now, we have finally reached the end in what has been a touching, beautiful and funny children’s series that adults love just as much, and this time we have to learn to let go. The Hidden World is a fitting finale as we come full circle in the fight against ignorance again, but it doesn’t mean the story is just rehashing previous plots. As Hiccup finally matures into his role as the Chief of Berk, you’re reminded how much you’ll miss him and his rag-tag of dragons.

A new threat faces Berk and its dragons in the form of Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) - a hateful dragon hunter - and Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) decides to complete his father’s quest for the world where dragons come from where they can all live in peace together.

While the other instalments are all equally amazing, this third one might just be the most beautiful. The colours, the shots, the design - it’s truly an animated masterpiece and the art department and cinematographer Gill Zimmerman truly needs praise for delivering a movie that I just want to put on my wall. But it doesn’t end there - the writing is as superb as the others, cultivating a close retelling of the books and should hopefully finally get director and writer Dean DeBlois his Oscar. He has been at the helm since the beginning, and it also shows how great a series can be with a consistent vision throughout.

Giving Toothless a girlfriend might seem like a typical movie thing that may annoy some fans, but this extra dimension to his character works so well, and if nothing else it did give us a spectacularly hilarious rendition of dragon mating dances that will have you falling off your seat laughing. The lightfury also serves as a catalyst for Toothless to understand what it means to be the King of Dragons, and this is juxtaposed with Hiccup’s acceptance of the responsibilities of chiefship, including his own relationship with the fearless and grounded Astrid. Neither suddenly become some manly strongmen ready to fight everyone - they both remain their goofy selves, it’s just now everyone listens to them, and for kids, it’s a way of showing you don’t have to lose all sense of humour and fun just because you have grown up.

Hidden World is a must-see animation and while it might be too early to tell, but this might be the best animation of the year already. You will cry, but at least it’s happy tears, and the filmmakers luckily don’t leave you hanging in your misery - and these days we all need a little belief in the mystical to fight off the darkness of ignorance in the real world.

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