I've never been a hardcore fan of the critically acclaimed How To Train Your Dragon series, but I have always found the films likable. I spent a lot of time as a child reading the books, and it was always interesting to me to see how they adapted the novels onto the big screen. Regardless of my personal opinion, since the first film's release in 2010, the series has gone on to become one of the most hailed animated series ever, with both critics and fans supporting everything about the (now) trilogy. Five years after the second film, and nine years after the first, director Dean DeBlois and Dreamworks Animation return with the final installment of the trilogy, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. The film ties everything seen in the first two together, and leaves the franchise on a good note, which is pretty good for a third installment of a series in this day and age.
The film continues in the journey of Hiccup and Toothless as they rule over the new Berk, which the film refers to as a "utopia where humans and dragons can coexist." Things start to change when Toothless encounters another dragon of his kind, dubbed the "Light Fury". As Toothless begins to realize who he is, and Hiccup begins to discover what kind of chief he wants to be, the two go on a journey to locate The Hidden World, a place for dragons that legends said "lied at the edge of the world." With a Night Fury catcher on their tale (no pun intended), the clock is ticking for Hiccup and Toothless to save the dragons, and in turn, save Berk.
The film feels different then the first two, and it's honestly kind of hard to explain why. Maybe it's just been too long since I have seen the first and second installment (2010 and 2014, respectively), but it almost feels as if The Hidden World is lighter; the stakes are less, the plot feels diluted, and most things don't seem that important for some reason. The plot chose an odd route to take, and runs into a lot of spots where it just doesn't work. Regardless of iffy plot choices, it is hard to deny that the animation isn't fantastic, because it truly is - something we have grown to expect when it comes to a How To Train Your Dragon film. The action is there, and there is a lot of it, but the non action packed moments don't always work, and mostly feel as if they are just there to keep the plot running. Regardless, the ending is the perfect way to say goodbye to one of the better animated series in the modern day, and is guaranteed to invoke tears, regardless of age. For mega fans of the series, this one will not disappoint, that's for sure. It feels as if the viewers are so connected to the people of Berk, which is just one of the reasons I feel as if the movie could have been so much more. But at the end of the day, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is fun, action packed, and a tear-jerker. In other words, it has everything that constitutes a good animated film.