How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

How_to_Train_Your_Dragon_3_posterWhat an exhausting title to type out. Actually, I had to look it up, because even though I really like the movie, I had completely forgotten what it was called. Basically, if it’s less snappy than “Paddington”, apparently I will not remember it.

I’ve seen the first How to Train Your Dragon movie a bunch of times. It’s about Hiccup, a Viking living in a village with the sole purpose of killing dragons. But Hiccup’s a more sensitive type person, and when he encounters an injured and utterly rare dragon nearby, he thinks that dragons may not be a scourge, but could perhaps be friends? (Spoiler for the first movie: yes, they can be.) It’s a gorgeous movie, and Hiccup’s dragon–a Night Fury he names Toothless–is absolutely one of the most adorable creatures ever invented by SFX. (If you ever wondered why some adults can’t buy houses, it’s because we want to spend all our money at toy stores buying Toothless toys.) I did see the second movie too, which was also visually stunning and made me cry buckets, but as I went into this third movie, I realised it had been four years since I’d seen number two and we had to debrief on what we all remembered during the previews. Good news, though: turns out you can have forgotten everything (like my six-year-old had) and The Hidden World is still super wonderful.

Now that dragons and humans live in harmony, Hiccup’s hometown of Berk has become chaos. His plan to save all captured dragons is very noble, but does end up with way more dragons than there is space. Not only that, but because Berk has become a utopia, everyone knows about it–which means that bad guys know too. And when one particularly bad guy named Grimmel is hired to capture Toothless, it’s up to Hiccup to find a safe haven for his friends, dragons and humans alike. So they quest for The Hidden World, a place his father told him about when he was a boy, but had never found. Not everyone believes in him, but Hiccup’s biggest problem, as always, is that he doesn’t believe in himself. And when his beloved Toothless meets a female Light Fury and a different future seems possible, Hiccup needs to remember who he is as a person separate from his dragon.

There are a lot of Feelings Moments in this movie. They’re great fun and they look amazing and there are dragon fights and all those cool things that make movies super rad on the surface, but the How to Train Your Dragon movies have always had a big theme of growing up as well. (Inspirational for kids, far too devastating for parents.) The good thing about these movies that they’re full of kids growing up and adults letting go and boy dragons doing embarrassing things to impress girl dragons, but this never gets in the way of making the movie fun. (We all know sometimes that Too Many Feelings can turn a movie into a drag.) The kids aren’t really kids in this movie, but something like older teenagers (one has an epic moustache, and another one ties his hair under his chin to fake a beard), but it doesn’t stop them making stupid decisions, much like adulthood has never really stopped me. There are some on-your-edge moments of danger, as Grimmel has drugged some dragons that spit acid, but it’s not terrifying. Mostly, it’s just gorgeous. For one of the first times, I even noticed what people were wearing in it. Gosh, these movies are great. I’m not sure if there will be any more after this–though there are heaps of books to read if you like the series, apparently the movies and books are pretty different. If you’ve read them, let me know! (And for reference, the end credits are cute, but there’s nothing at the end of them.)

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