Review: How To Train Your Dragon 3

*SPOILERS ALERT*

The final film in the Dream Works Animation’s beloved trilogy is a hugely satisfying experience, a perspective which seems to be reflected in the facts: it has grossed $85 million worldwide, and has become the third highest-grossing film of 2019.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World follows Hiccup, chief and ruler of Berk, and his dragon Toothless, who continue to rescue captured dragons and bring them safely back to Berk, along with their fellow dragon riders and friends. Their dragon utopia is threatened when the evil dragon hunter Grimmel the Grisly appears, believing that dragons must be exterminated. Hiccup and his fellow Berkians and dragons are forced to leave their home in search for the Hidden World, a safe haven for dragons thought only to exist in myth. The sudden appearance of a female Light Fury enchants Toothless away from Hiccup, and a beautiful story of love and friendship ensues.

How_to_Train_Your_Dragon_3_posterAlthough arguably less plot driven than the previous two films, this film doesn’t fail to evoke emotion and awe from its audiences. Despite Grimmel posing the main threat in the film, there was never really a sense that the Berkians and dragons were going to lose. But that’s not what this film is about. Rather, the moral messages were of central importance. Hiccup and Toothless are not just rider and dragon, they are the very best of friends. However, Hiccup comes to the realisation that Toothless belongs with the Light Fury in the Hidden World amongst fellow dragons: he must let him go. This climax of farewell in the film brought tears to my eyes; it is not just Toothless that leaves Hiccup, but all the other dragons. Here we have this beautiful, yet heart-wrenching shot of the Berkians stood on the edge of a cliff watching as their dragons fly off into the horizon. Despite being deeply sad, this strongly conveys the message: if you really love someone, let them go.

The film could have ended here, which would have been a shame. Instead, we soar through time to several years later, where Hiccup and Astrid are sailing with their two children, and they find Toothless and the Light Fury at the edge of the Hidden World. The two dragons have wed and given birth to three hybrid dragons; Night Lights. This at first hesitant reunion becomes one of genuine elation, and Hiccup introduces Toothless to his children. Hiccup takes their son flying on Toothless while Astrid takes their daughter on Stormfly, along with the Light Fury and their Night Lights. Hiccup vows that until dragons can live harmoniously with mankind, they will stay hidden while the Berkians guard their secret. This seems to imply that we haven’t seen the last of Hiccup and Toothless…

The scenes which had the biggest impact on me were those of Toothless and the Light Fury. The teasing and playful flirting between the two dragons evoked tears, laughs, and a whole lot of smiles. These scenes were beautifully crafted, in particular the flying scenes were stunning. There was one shot where both dragons flew up vertically in the sky and had their heads bowed towards each other – a delightful image showing the love between the two dragons.

The animation simply stunned me, even the development from the first film to this one is remarkable. The attention to detail in this film was outstanding – from the tiny hairs on Hiccup’s face much like a real-life human’s, to the running nose of his younger self in the flashbacks. The colours in the film were also spectacular, particularly in the scene of the initial discovery of the Hidden World; the vibrancy of all the colours was a feast for the eyes.

The whole experience of the film was visually stunning, and this was made more incredible by the music, which greatly complemented the animation. John Powell has composed the music for all three films and his uplifting theme plays at all the right moments, and truly adds to the sense of adventure and excitement.

This beautiful story of love and friendship lived up to my expectations, and I really believe this film appeals to all. The question is, is this really the final flight?

How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World is in cinemas now. 

– Nicola Finch 

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