Mar 26, 2019
Welcome back to the podcast as we continue getting caught up on a few Certified Fresh films recently (or currently) in the theaters. Today, we get that rare trilogy closer that ends up being as good or better than the previous entries. What does Ryan think about the film? He’ll let you know in a few seconds.
If you’re looking for a few other animated films, check out our reviews for “Incredibles 2” (Episode #169), “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” (Episode #212), “Next Gen” (Episode #252), “Isle of Dogs” (Episode #368), and the 2019 Oscar and Golden Globe Winner for Best Animated Feature, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” (Episode #381). And if you have any suggestions, reach out over social media, or let us know at onemoviepunch.com.
Take it away, Ryan!
Today’s movie is “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”, the final chapter in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy released in February 2019. The film is written and directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, joined by writer Will Davies, starring an all-star voice cast, with music by John Powell.
What began as an unlikely friendship between an adolescent Viking and a fearsome Night Fury dragon has become an epic adventure spanning their lives. Welcome to the most astonishing chapter of one of the most beloved animated franchises in film history. Now chief and ruler of Berk alongside Astrid, Hiccup has created a gloriously chaotic dragon utopia. When the sudden appearance of female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup and Toothless must leave the only home they’ve known to journey to a hidden world thought only to exist in myth. As their true destines are revealed, dragon and rider will fight together to the very ends of the Earth to protect everything they’ve grown to treasure.
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” delivers a beautiful story that takes full advantage of Dean DeBlois' epic fantasy world of highflying adventure with a great deal of heart. We’ve witnessed our favorite characters mature and grow, and this growth enables the audience to identify and empathize with the animal and human characters thus giving the film incredible emotional weight. Not only do the characters demonstrate personal growth over the nine years we've enjoyed Berk and all its wonders, they exhibit tangible evidence of interpersonal societal growth as this Viking kingdom learns to love and cherish creatures they once feared. Toothless takes center stage as he too, along with our friends from Berk, must grow up. Both Toothless and Hiccup experience the powerful dynamic of love as it greatly affects one's actions. While many were wondering if this trilogy could pull off a Toy Story 3, after the immense success of the first two (especially “How To Train Your Dragon 2”, suffice it to say) DreamWorks Animation delivers a superlative animated motion picture complete with all the feels.
As immersive and excellent as the film's visuals are, the characters are even more complex and deep. In fact, the film depicts one of the best friendships of any film ever. The key characters, and even the supporting cast, demonstrate love, loss, maturity, growth, and more. Although this is the final installment in the franchise, the characters are still treated with finesse and given room to grow within the movie and to complete the arcs for the trilogy. Often, Toothless and Hiccup parallel one another; they possess traits that complement one another. This added complexity to their respective characters gives them so much depth. More than a commentary on independence or freedom, this film chooses to depict complex emotions such as love between friends, family, and romantic love. And these subjects are not just talked about--exposition would be too easy and lazy--there are many moments that are visually driven, thus increasing the level of emotional impact. One of my favorite moments that deals with both the letting go of the past in order to bloom and grow is the courtship dance scene between Toothless and the Light Fury. Love is not without sacrifice. And in the exploration of relationships and independence, we are reminded of the emotional cost associated with these concepts. Paralleling this exploration of relationships between lovers, family, and friends is the journey of rising to the call and becoming a leader of one's people. It's the ideal journey for this final installment because it completes the hero's journey for Hiccup and Toothless.
While some animated trilogies suffer the longer the franchise goes on, the quality of the animation in this film is outstanding! As beautiful as the dragon flight sequences were in the first and second movies, Hidden World delivers an even more epic flight scene in this film. During the flight sequence into the Hidden World of dragons, I was reminded of Navi River Journey and Flight of Passage in Pandora: the World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Never felt like a ripoff, but certainly feels inspired by the attraction. The commitment to the art of animated world creation reaches incredible heights! Every scene, every moment, every setting is completely immersive. In many ways, it out-Pixars Pixar. Like with other animated films, if this one had a Pixar logo on it instead of DreamWorks, then even more people would be singing its praises.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
One Movie Punch: 8.0/10
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is rated PG and is set to be released in May 2019 for streaming and DVD/Blu-Ray.