How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World [Review]
I went with my family to see an advance preview of How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World at the BFI last Saturday. It was a good movie and the kids loved it, they also loved the Q&A afterwards with Cressida Cowell, Brad Lewis (the producer) and Dean DeBlois (the director of the whole trilogy).
The Hidden World
The Hidden World is the last in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy. The Q & A was pretty clear on that. The next movie night well be related to The Wizards of Once, which Alexander asked Cressida Cowell about during the Q&A.
In The Hidden World the gang are searching for the legendary home of the dragons. It’s set a couple of years after the previous movie and everyone has aged a bit. Hiccup and his friends are in their early adulthood, maybe 17/18ish. The opening scene shows them rescuing dragons from a ship, and there’s a confidence to it, even if it doesn’t exactly go to plan. There’s a much more grown up feel to the movie, and there’s more detail in the world. There’s also fantastic animation and a whole host of new dragons.
Like all the best family movies it works on multiple levels. There’s things for everyone to appreciate. My youngest appreciated the dragons and the overt story about saving them. My eldest saw that and also the tie up through the trilogy back to the beginning. He also caught some of the grown up side jokes. There was a good thread through it of Snotlout fancying Hiccup’s mum Valka. It was clear that it was one way, but Valka (voiced by Cate Blanchett) gently teases him, which was tastefully amusing.
This is a great family movie. It works even if you haven’t already seen the first two, bit is best if you have. My kids (6 and 13) both gave it five stars, and I’d give it five as a family movie. It’s definitely on a par with the Toy Story movies, and way better than Frozen (although my youngest would give Frozen a million stars out of five).
The Hidden World is definitely a movie to take your kids to, and one you can enjoy with them.
Plot of the Hidden World
There may be spoilers below
The premise is that there’s a hunter of night furies. He’s a legendary dragon hunter, and able to anticipate events. He has been hired to take control of the Dragons, and enable Berk’s enemies to take over the world.
Alongside this there’s a female night fury. She’s a captive of the enemy, and is being used to track and capture Toothless. Traps are laid, and avoided.
Hiccup isn’t up for this, and rather than fight a pitched battle against overwhelming numbers decides they should find the Hidden World so that they can all live safely with the dragons where people can’t get them.
So the village on Berk is abandoned and they all fly West to find the Hidden World. There’s a reluctance by the people, but they go. Having moved on, they find a place that they think is better for them than Berk was. Hiccup doesn’t want them to stop, but agrees that they can stay for a bit while he and Astrid scout ahead for the Hidden World.
If there’s a them to the movie it’s about loss and growing up. It’s really well handled. Hiccup has flashback memories to his childhood and conversations with his Dad about things. As the movie progresses Hiccup comes to realise that he needs to let go of things to move on. Just as the villagers did with Berk. This leads to the dragons moving to the hidden world while the humans stay on their new island.
There’s a happy ending to it, and we see Hiccup and Astrid as grown ups with a family of their own. The very last words in the movie are the first words from the original book. It’s a fabulous ending.
My Small has just got into HTTYD, so I’m glad to know the spoiler. He was worried all the dragons were killed….We LOVED the first one (thanks for nothing, you useless reptile!) and only this morning Small described to his dad the new cat interacting with the venerable Aubrey-cat as “like when Toothless met the Terrible Terror – not so fireproof on the inside, bud!”
Keepers. I suspect I’ll cry, though.
You might well cry. Another spoiler is that the children are called Zephyr and Nuffink. Which we only know because someone asked Cressida Cowell at the end!
There was a marvellous author back in the days when I used to read a lot of southern gothic/vampire fiction, called Poppy Z. Brite. The little boy in their book Lost Souls is called Nothing…. it doesn’t end well for him, as I recall.
No need to worry about Hiccup’s kid!