Arts & Culture

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ flies too close to the sky

Michael Olderr, Staff Writer

Dreamworks’ high-flying animated trilogy bows out with its final installment of the “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy with “The Hidden World.” Taking place one year after the events of the last movie, Hiccup and Toothless take on their greatest foe yet, and the two have to find the hidden world not only to save each other but all of dragonkind as well. The movie does its best to push that angle for the film, but sadly it does not succeed most of the time, leaving behind a well meaning movie that hits some of its story really well, though it does not live up to be the finale that it needed to be.

First off, the visuals for the movie were absolutely beautiful. It is not as detailed as the second movie, but the 3-D models in this movie put a bit more emphasis on slicker and smoother designs than detail. Shots like landscape are done beautifully, and, of course, the dragons in the film look stupendous. Then there are the flying scenes; scenes of Toothless and Hiccup flying through the clouds are a staple for the series with each movie always topping the other. This one is no different as the ones that are in this movie are superior to the ones that have been in any of the other movies.

Toothless is another thing that the movie does well. He is more alive and expressive in this film than he has been in any of the others. He has almost become human but with all of the animal characteristics that we have come to love over the past nine years, and it is fair to say that all of the best moment in the film are the ones where he is the focus for both the comedic scenes and the dramatic ones.

Unfortunately, the narrative took a hit because up until the last ten minutes of the movie, you would not know that this movie was supposed to be a finale. The movie has pacing problems, and because of this, it is completely void of all tension. While entertaining, the movie’s antagonist did not solve that problem, and the movie forcefully tries to paint him as some dark version of Hiccup, which in its own is a very neat concept, but the film didn’t spend enough time on that notion to truly sell it. Of course there are the other villains, their unmemorable nature rendering them the franchise’s most unimportant characters.

Then there’s the supporting cast. In the past couple of movies, the side characters, while interesting, are always pushed to the back in order to make room for Hiccup and Toothless. Here, they get a little more time to shine, but it is not always for the best, (I’m looking at you Snotlout, who makes almost every scene he is in very uncomfortable.). Then there is the ending of the film. The scene itself is not bad. In fact, it is one of the best scenes in the trilogy. But the journey on how they got there and the decisions that characters make are unbelievable and come off as incredibly forced, its abruptness ruining a potential Oscar-worthy scene.

By no means is “The Hidden World” a horrible movie, but it falls flat as a grand finale that was promised. The villain was watered down, and the characters have some questionable discussions. Nonetheless, the dragons in the film breathe life into this movie and give it enough energy to make it enjoyable, even if barely.

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