There is a point in time where sometimes we have to say goodbye to our best friends so they can walk their own paths and embrace their true destinies.
When I caught word that How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was to be the last movie in the HTTYD franchise, I immediately knew this was going to be a tough one to sit through. Mainly because I’ve followed Hiccup and Toothless‘s journey since their very first flight in 2010. Fast forward eight years later to now, you can imagine it’s hard to say goodbye to my favourite dragon riding team.
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is set a couple years after the sequel. Hiccup becomes the Chief of Berk and has successfully created a peaceful utopia for dragons and humans to live together. After Hiccup and his crew rescue some captivated dragons upon a shipping vessel, the owners of that ship hire Nightfury hunter, Grimmel to track down Hiccup and Toothless. Catching ear of Toothless‘s existence, Grimmel is deeply surprised to hear that he has not wiped out the entire Nightfury race and sets out to hunt down Toothless, by luring him out using a female Nightfury or should I say ‘Lightfury‘. With Grimmel presenting himself as a new danger, Hiccup‘s role as chief is greatly tested as he tries to find his people and dragons a new home, protect them all from Grimmel as well as fight the thought that Toothless has found romance, and may soon depart his side.
I am going to start off by saying this movie has so many feels and emotions, that every layer has you hooked in and engaged.
The character development was extremely strong in this movie, Hiccup although he is chief still has traces of self doubt, but it is his dependency of Toothless that is the main issue. His mindset of being nothing without his dragon overshadows him and his ability to lead his people, seeing his struggle as well as his developmental stages of turning into a confident leader is inspiring to witness.
HTTYD has always had a good sense of storytelling so the pacing was perfect and it didn’t feel rushed at all. It had a great balance switching between the various subplots within the film, perfectly pieced together that the tone and feel of the movie progressed and flowed naturally.
As always Dreamworks really know how to put together a colourful cinematic adventure, the overall look of the dragons and the environments are easily captivating, especially the neon colour take the film has adapted to is just awing. Not to mention the vibrant soundtrack by English composer John Powell (composer behind Happy Feet, Shrek, Rio, Antz, Chicken Run, Robots) just tightens the experience nicely.
The only issue I had was I felt the movie’s formula was the same as the How To Train Your Dragon 2. If you were to break it down there was also a crazed dragon hunter/trapper (Drago), the inclusion of searching for another dragon utopia first starting off at Valka’s Mountain which was where Hiccup‘s mum Valka resided, as well as eventually leading to Berk where all the dragons reside. Although it doesn’t take a lot away from the third film, I felt it was the same formula just layered differently.
Regardless, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World didn’t fail to provide an amazing cinematic adventure that was filled with so much struggle, emotion and victory. The story telling, the transitions and development of each character particularly Toothless and Hiccup was powerful to watch, but it’s that last scene and the conclusion that really brings it home nicely.
So to my favourite dragon riding duo, I say with tears, “Thank-you for the memories, it’s been an amazingly fun ride and I will deeply miss you both”! I won’t see this as goodbye… but more of a ‘until next time’!