Are you ready for one last trip to Berk? How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) opens today and brings a close to the saga of Hiccup, the viking who couldn’t hunt dragons, and Toothless, the Nightfury he befriends. Let’s fly with dragons one last time.
Hidden World takes place exactly a year after the events of How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) and the gang is right where you’d expect, releasing dragons from hunters all over the region and bringing them back to Berk to become part of the community.
The community seems to be thriving, the new additions (both human and dragon) incorporating into the village well, but there’s a bit of a crowding issue. Nevertheless, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is doing his best as the new Chief to make things work and build a balance between the two worlds. Astrid (America Ferrera) is of course right by his side, and they and their friends have (mostly) figured out how to work as a team. Things seem to be going well.
But this is a story about humans and dragons and things are never going to stay that way for long. Much like the first film, everything starts to change with the arrival of a new dragon, one they’ve never seen before. When a new threat emerges that could harm Toothless directly, Hiccup has to make his first real life-altering decisions as a leader. His choices will have consequences for everyone he knows, and will change their relationship with dragons forever.
Hidden World is absolutely beautiful on the big screen. There are delightful sequences of dragons flying through storms and the aurora borealis and through bioluminescent caverns.
It also does what is becoming rare in Hollywood these days and brings an actual close (as opposed to endless sequels) to a saga nine years after we first met the Nightfury. It follows as Hiccup finishes growing up and steps into his role as Chief of Berk in a way that is wholly his own. Part of growing up means making difficult decisions, but Astrid is always by his side, ready to build him up and support him but also to knock him back into place if he needs it. Hidden World does a nice job showing them as equals, as partners, and their characters complement each other well. The young generation is ready to take their place as the future of Berk.
As with all of the Dragon movies, this story is at its root about love. That love takes many forms, and isn’t always easy, but, as one character says, it’s always worth it.
Take some tissues if you go to this one. The ending is bittersweet but satisfying. Oh, and the beard from the promos? Stick around until the last* scene. Trust me.
Are you going to see this movie this weekend? Which is your favorite dragon in this franchise?
*There isn’t an end-credit scene, though there is some nice footage from all three films to reminisce while watching the credits scroll by.