Film in review: How To Train your Dragon 3


Josh DeLaRosa, Film Reporter

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is another triumph in a series that has proven it is incapable of wavering, and we just don’t see that in trilogies anymore. From the stunning animation to the heartwarming (and sometimes heartbreaking) narrative, this series will go down in history as one of the best—and most overlooked—reasons for the continuance of animation.

One year has passed since the events of “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” and main character Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is still hard at work gathering dragons and bringing them back to his home island of Berk in an effort of creating a human and dragon utopia.

I would go into more detail, but pretty much everything after that hints at the tone of the narrative.

My first encounter with “How to Train Your Dragon” was my freshman year at Winona State. I knew nothing about the books that the series had been adapted from, and I only knew that Hiccup’s dragon Toothless was like a cat that actually liked its owner. That alone piqued my interest.

What I didn’t expect—and this is something that carried through to my viewing of  “The Hidden World”—is how much love and care has been put into this series.  Director Dean DeBlois isn’t fixated on carrying every plot and theme from the books to the screen. Rather, he’s focused on creating a vibrant world full of likable and often funny characters.

Some may request that I compare this film to another critically praised threequel and see which is better. That film, of course, being Pixar’s “Toy Story 3.” I won’t do that because I don’t see “The Hidden World” and “Toy Story 3” as though they are in competition with one another. Yes, they’re both wrapping up their respective series’ (I’m ignoring the upcoming “Toy Story 4” for the sake of argument), but they both set about their lofty ambitions in varying and differing ways.

Is this a series about our pets and how we need to appreciate the limited time we have with them? I think so, but I imagine there’s a smarter (and likely taller) individual out there who sees additional layers that I’m either unaware of or simply don’t realize their significance.

This is a series that is also about friendship and how it transcends what species we belong to. Toothless is hands down the most adorable creature to grace the silver screen, and I’m willing to take a dragon’s breath of fire to defend that assertion. I honestly need a friend like Toothless; one who understands me but also endures every hardship life throws our way with undying commitment.

Similar to the previous two films in this trilogy, composer John Powell has created a score that is emotional in every sense of the word. There’s soaring sweeps of optimism that are complemented by tear-jerking currents of foreboding resolution. It’s easily a soundtrack someone could get lost listening to. Speaking of which, I’m going to download it right now.

Oh yeah— tickle my ears with the soothing export of your conducting baton, John Powell!

It’s movies like this that I live for. The target demographic may be children, but I feel animation in the last 20 years has become so much more than a pastime for kids while their parents do more important things. Animation is about igniting creativity and creating worlds that could never exist in reality. It makes people want to become storytellers—to be the next person to create a world outside of our own. That is what “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” promotes, and in part because of this—on top of its story, characters and superb visuals—it is simply perfect. 5/5