Saturday, December 21, 2019

Movie with Abe: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Directed by Dean DeBlois
Released February 22, 2019

When a cinematic universe has been created and it’s clear the people like it, it’s almost inevitable that a sequel will follow. That’s doubly true when an animated world presents the opportunity for more excitement, and having it be friendly to both children and adults is indeed a plus. In 2010, “How to Train Your Dragon” reframed a mythical legend that usually inspires fear, and its follow-up in 2014, “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” delighted audiences just as much. A third film was all but guaranteed, the latest journey into a place where people ride friendly dragons that still manages to be fun even if it’s not nearly as fresh.

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) has great success rescuing captured dragons with the help of the loyal Toothless, but his efforts attract the attention of the sinister dragon hunter Grimmel the Grisly (F. Murray Abraham). Determined to undermine Hiccup, Grimmel sends what Hiccup and Astrid (America Ferrera) come to call a Light Fury to bond with Toothless so that the two will be linked and drive him away. Threatened by Grimmel, Hiccup leaves with the Berkians on a quest to find the Hidden World, a legendary place he learned of from his father that might provide a new home and a place to keep all of the dragons safe.

Those eager for a return trip to see Toothless and all of his magical wonder will likely enjoy this film simply because it provides a pathway back in to a wondrously imagined concept. This third entry doesn’t have the same innovative feel as the first two films, launching into its plot assuming all of its viewers know what’s going on and what to expect next. There is a familiar nature to the structure of this arc, with Grimmel simply set on destruction while Hiccup and all of his friends merely want to help those they love survive rather than be captured. It should be pleasing enough to young audiences, reminiscent of many other animated and family-friendly films.

This film’s subtitle sets this entry up as an evolution, one that takes its characters and transplants them to a new place. While many future sequels seem likely, it appears that the television spinoffs and other franchise opportunities will suffice since there are no plans in the works for a fourth film. This reviewer is more than okay with that, with the second as the true standout of the series. This film is perfectly adequate and impressively animated as always, but it does serve as a harmless example of why it’s not always absolutely necessary to make another movie just because it’s worked well in the past.


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