How to Train Your Dragon is pretty great

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How to Train Your Dragon is pretty great

Kaitlyn Schafer, Editor of Reviews, Editorials, and Features

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“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is the third installment to the franchise and beautifully ties up the series in a perfect conclusion. Director Dean DeBlois has aged the characters after each film and this one is no different. This movie takes place a year after “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and six years after the first one, leaving Hiccup as the leader of Berk since the death of his father. With his new position, Hiccup is determined to let all dragons settle on his land, however, this gives way too many problems. The franchise has, like its audience, grown up and because of this, this film grapples with more complex themes than before, making for a truly satisfying yet bittersweet conclusion.

IT’S LIT: One of the most beautifully animated moments in the film. Hiccup and Astrid have discovered the Hidden World. “During the Hidden World scene, the lights, colors, and especially the music, are what made this sequence my favorite part of the film,” stated Isabella Zeppi.  Photo credit: Fandango

The story continues with Hiccup, the now-chief of Berk, and his dragon best friend, the obsidian Night Fury, named Toothless. Hiccup’s decision to invite every dragon to live on his island makes for a very crowded and overpopulated Berk. Due to the Viking’s living space not being able to accommodate all the dragons, Hiccup decides to try and find the “Hidden World” that his father told him about. His discovery of this world would allow both humans and dragons to live in peace. His mission to find this world, however, becomes complicated when Grimmel, also known as the Night Fury killer, revisits the need to end the Night Fury race, including Toothless. The film gives an interesting backstory on what happened to all of the dragons and why humans never see them around today.

Since the franchise’s first film’s release in 2010, audiences and critics have been awed by the 3-D animated dragons and characters that DreamWorks Studios had created. In “The Hidden World” the animation is no less gorgeous, in fact, it may even be better due to the change of the story’s setting. There is a scene in the film where Hiccup and Astrid find themselves in a foreign land that is overspread in a variety of glowing colors in a cave-like setting. The whole scene possesses a James Cameron “Avatar” feel due to the location’s breathtaking bio-luminescence animation. The setting animation is not even the franchise’s main spectacle but rather the different species of dragons. Many of the dragons seem to be based on different bird species but to make Toothless more lovable, the animators seemed to base him off of a black panther or maybe even a dog. This choice that the animators made allowed viewers to love the films even more due to its charming main dragon.

While many aspects and scenes of the film were fun and engaging, the real highlight of the film were the scenes that included Toothless. From the film’s trailer and posters, audiences can see that a new dragon joins the franchise and not just any dragon but another Night Fury, a species of dragon that was assumed to be extinct. Toothless comes to fancy this White Night Fury, or “Light Fury”, who, unknown to Toothless, was being used by Grimmel as bait to try and lure Toothless to himself. It is captivating to watch Toothless and the Light Fury interact in the movie due to their lack of dialogue. All the exchanges between the two characters are shown entirely through fantastically animated facial expressions and sound effects.

A movie’s soundtrack provides emotional strength. It is almost virtually impossible to create a song that does not tell some kind of story or evoke some sort of emotion. The “How to Train Your Dragon” films supply just this by telling the story of two best friends, which any viewer can listen and relate to. The soundtrack features similar tunes from the previous films which takes watchers back to previous scenes from the franchise’s first two movies.

This movie gets a Category 5 rating for its pristine animation, charming characters and melodious soundtrack.