How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World

Astrid (America Ferrera) and Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) in DreamWorks Animation’s "How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World," directed by Dean DeBlois.

How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World is the rare third film that makes for a fitting conclusion by ending the series on a high note.

It’s very rare in which I find myself wanting to cry at the end of a trilogy.  This isn’t so much because I know it’s going to be the end of an era but more so because of how the final scenes are scripted.  The series has taken Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (Jay Baruchel) on quite the character arc.  You really can’t help but admire him for how much he’s grown into his role as Chief.  We can always count on Astrid Hofferson (America Ferrera) for helping to nudge him in the right direction.  DeBlois has really put together a fitting conclusion.  These two–no doubt the stars aside from the lovable dragons–are in a good place with each other after the whole will-they-or-won’t-they over the course of three films.  This series isn’t a romantic comedy but one could have called the ending a mile away in the very first film.

At its core, How To Train Your Dragon 3 is about the future of Berk.  After learning to live with dragons, they’re fighting for their future.  For Hiccup and his friends, it soon becomes a question of whether he loves Toothless enough to set him free.  When Night Fury killer Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) comes for Toothless, Hiccup has to make bold decisions.  In this case, it means flashing back to Stoick the Vast’s (Gerard Butler) stories.  As a result, Hiccup sets Berk’s citizens out on a course for The Hidden World.  This isn’t without its own obstacles.  For instance, a female Light Fury makes herself known to Toothless and he falls head over heels.

The big news earlier this year was that Justin Rupple joined the cast and took over the role of Tuffnut.  This move alone scores some major points for the film.  It took a known abuser out of the picture.  For this, I say thank you.  That they did this without fanfare let alone major press announcing the news is the biggest shock.

By the end of the film, we’ve come to realize that the How To Train Your Dragon franchise isn’t just about training dragons.  No, the franchise is about coming-of-age into oneself and being the leader we always knew we could be.  It just took Hiccup two films longer than a coming-of-age normally takes place in film.  Dean DeBlois took over sole directing and writing duties after the first film but what a hat trick that this franchise has pulled off.  I’m serious when I say that.  If every franchise had the emotional punch of this series, we’d be getting Kleenex at the box office.

CAST:  Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, F. Murray Abraham, Kit Harington, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Justin Rupple

DreamWorks Animation opens How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World in theaters on February 22, 2019. Grade: 4.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.