The How to Train Your Dragon franchise is one of the few animated series that has consistently provided a healthy balance to thrilling action and genuine heart. This trait is once again on display in The Hidden World the final chapter in the trilogy.
Picking up a year after the previous film, the kingdom of Berk is bursting at the seams as humans and dragons attempt to live in harmony. Thanks to Hiccup, his loyal dragon Toothless and their band of friends, dragons of all types and sizes have been saved from poachers. Unfortunately, the influx of dragons has not been ideal for Berk’s limited infrastructure.
Hiccup is further forced to reassess Berk’s ability to be a true sanctuary for dragons when infamous dragon hunter Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), known for his ability to kill Night Fury dragons, places Toothless in his sights. Using a white female Fury, or “Light Fury” as Astrid (America Ferrera) calls her, as bait, Grimmel sets a plan in motion that could put the lives of everyone on Berk at risk.
Fearing the damage that this dastardly new foe could inflict, Hiccup sets out to find The Hidden World; a mythical land for dragons that his late father Stoick (Gerard Butler) once told him about.
If the first two films were about growing and coming to terms with one’s place in the world, then this installment is fittingly about embracing change. Hiccup and Toothless have become so blinded by their friendship that they fail to see that life is moving forward regardless of whether they are ready or not. For Hiccup this means accepting the responsibilities of leadership and the fact that Toothless has his own destiny to fulfill.
A destiny that will involve Toothless falling in love and embarking on the new journey that romance often brings. It is in the playful love story of Toothless and the Light Fury that The Hidden World is most charming. Though their flirtation may be wordless, director Dean DeBlois extracts a surprising amount of emotion from these moments. This allows the strain it causes on the bond between Hiccup and Toothless, as both must figure out how to navigate this new development, to unfold in an authentic way.
The Blu-ray, which arrives today courtesy of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, further explores the difficulty of letting go of that which one cares for most. In “Growing Up with Dragons” DeBlois and crew discuss the growth of the characters over the course of the series and what this new stage means for them. Packed with bonus content, there is plenty on the disc for those all ages to enjoy. Young audiences will take delight in “Bilby”, one of two DreamWorks Shorts included, and the amusing “The Dragon Sheep Chronicles.” Older viewers will find plenty of insight into the making of the film in the “Creating an Epic Dragon Tale” feature.
A fitting finale to an exceptional trilogy, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World offers a chance to say goodbye to characters we have watched evolve over the years.
Bonus Features: Alternate Opening; DreamWorks Shorts; Deleted Scenes; How to Voice Your Viking; Creating an Epic Dragon Tale; How I Learned from Dragons; Brave Wilderness Presents: Nature + Dragons = Awesome; The Dragon Sheep Chronicles; A Deck of Dragons; Growing Up with Dragons; The Evolving Character Design of Dragons; Drawing Dragons; Epic Villain; Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds; Welcome to New Berk; Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Dean DeBlois, Producer Bradford Lewis and Head of Character Animation Simon Otto.
I’m actually tempted to buy this on Blu-ray, I’ve always been fascinated with how animated movies are made! The Hidden World is such a fitting end to the franchise.
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