How to train your dragon 3 review: a simple movie with a complex execution

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Zoning in và out of How to lớn Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is an experience. While you could pay attention lớn things like plot or character, it’s awfully easy to lớn direct your eyeballs lớn their fine Viking fur, the wispy clouds the dragons fly through, or the dirt and grass they lie upon. Since the movie never quite delivers on stakes expected of a finale, losing oneself in The Hidden World’s gorgeous animation is more fun than whatever its characters are doing.

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DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, out in theaters on February 22 is again helmed by series veteran Dean Deblois, the final chapter of a trilogy inspired by English author Cressida Cowell’s book series of the same name.

In The Hidden World, the once meek Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) now controls the Viking island of Berk with Toothless, a rare breed of dragon known as Night Furies. With Berk overcrowded by dragon and Viking folk alike, Hiccup must find the Hidden World — birthplace & guarded utopia for dragons — after Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), a feared hunter recruited by warlords, seeks lớn capture and control the dragons.

Although fun và funny for all ages, The Hidden World disappoints, banking on sentimentality instead of delivering character, stakes, & story. This is the climax to a trilogy, we’re told, yet nothing feels climactic. It barely feels lượt thích a television series finale, let alone the over of a ten-year film saga.

The world doesn’t have lớn be in danger for cinematic stakes lớn feel real. Some of the best Marvel films — the standard-bearer for family blockbusters — aren’t the ones with alien invasions or time-altering schemes, but with tension between well-established characters (See: Spider-Man: Homecoming, with Peter Parker & the Vulture, & Captain America: Civil War, with Captain America & Iron Man). At the same time, saving the world would have saved The Hidden World, because things never feel dire enough.

So, I zoned out.


Hard as I tried to care about anything in the story, I wound up more occupied by the film’s fidelity. Technically, The Hidden World is an achievement of CGI rendering in its depiction of a fantasy land and a luminescent kingdom where dragons dwell. I periodically stopped caring about the plot as I threw myself into the world instead. Sometimes, when the heroes got on their dragons, I would forget why or how the story got there & just focus on trying lớn imagine what the wind would feel in my face atop a dragon. It’s movies like The Hidden World that demonstrate why kids are into Dungeons & Dragons. Imagination really is so much more fun than reality.

Gawking at landscapes is where the fun of The Hidden World ends. It lacks the epic story promised in its title that would keep the viewer engaged throughout. & while its themes of belonging và finding a new home will resonate with any audience, the lessons The Hidden World tries lớn impart feel as permanent as a puff of smoke.

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Because these characters never express any fundamental connection to lớn their ancestral land (and no sense of heritage either), there’s an absence of any sort of dread when the island of Berk burns.

Instead, in this final chapter of a trilogy, most characters seem mildly annoyed at a life-changing inconvenience. Within five minutes, you see how quickly the Vikings take lớn their surroundings, which, interestingly, bear no apparent difference khổng lồ the region they just left. There is no actual change or struggle. Just time & plot.


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While the destruction of a village is glossed over, there’s generous time devoted khổng lồ a romantic subplot where Toothless woos a rare, female “Light Fury.” It’s xinh đẹp — the kids in my screening got a kick watching Toothless dance lượt thích a dumbass, & I did, too — but I couldn’t shake the feeling that time would have been better spent elsewhere.

A lot of the blame for The Hidden World lies in Grimmel, an entirely functional villain who clearly should have been the star of the whole series. Reminiscent of Khan from Star Trek II, Grimmel is just the kind of “suave bad guy” with a vague foreign accent that would have made him a franchise favorite. But as his only movie is The Hidden World, he’s not given time, development, or really anything khổng lồ become an everlasting force kids will remember.


After seeing The Hidden World, it is surprising khổng lồ me that one of the biggest multimedia franchises for kids today has not produced a single iconic villain. Where’s this series’ Darth Vader? Why aren’t they directing ten years’ worth of aggression towards Hiccup & Toothless? The Hidden World is proof of how a good antagonist can define a stories, especially ones successful enough lớn spawn a series. This Christmas you’re going lớn buy your nieces và nephews Kylo Ren kích hoạt figures, not Grimmel.

There could have been so much more khổng lồ the ending of Hiccup’s coming of age story. You want this puny guy to become the nhân vật he’s meant to be, và he almost does! But without a villain to lớn serve as connective tissue, or world-ending stakes lớn define our protagonist’s heroism over nine years, Hiccup and Toothless are just good dudes defeating a bad dude. Cool. I’ve also seen a movie.

I feel sorry for the generation who literally grew up with these movies. Originally hailed as the next big family franchise when the first film was released eons ago in 2010. The Hidden World doesn’t pay off those expectations. Nor does it pay off audience’s time & attention in any meaningful way. Even if it isn’t an explicitly terrible movie, The Hidden World is a misfire of storytelling proportions.