Written by: Dean DeBlois
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraha
Striving for perfection always stands as an admirable feat many should hope to attain, but in the end, the sustainability of it will never last because of it being led by imperfect humans. It’s something the protagonist of this feature desperately wants to have in order to maintain a utopia, but as the events of this narrative unfold, it becomes time to make a difficult decision about the future of dragons and Vikings.
Now with one year under his belt as chieftain, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his peers have worked hard to free dragons from captivity wherever they are and bring them back to Berk as some sort of human-dragon utopia. However, with overcrowding taking place, he looks forward to finding a place that can accommodate everyone, with the incoming threat of a man priding himself to hunt and kill Night Furies, Toothless’s breed.
Going from the scrawny naive kid from the first film, ascending into possible leadership in the second, and now trying to lead as the chieftain in the third, Hiccup’s journey stands as a testament to cinematic storytelling. Through the different stages of this young man’s life, audiences have been there to learn from his mistakes and now as a leader, he no longer can solely make decisions on what would make him happy but rather what works for everyone as a whole. This ultimately becomes the main struggle in trying to craft his utopia where so many dragons and Vikings can co-exist. On paper, it feels like the perfect setup but in practicality, it causes so many issues. Making the decisions Hiccup must make in this feature comes with being a leader of people and the way he navigates it says plenty about the maturity of this film and the series as a whole.
With the concept of alpha dragons introduced, we are knee-deep in the knowledge of these dragons and how they operate. Way beyond these bestial creatures just looking to eat, the level of personality given to each type has such a wondrous level of care to it. They make for great companions but have the innocence to comprehend the true evils of humanity and the way those outside of Berk will mistreat them. It’s something Hiccup will need to comprehend as the feature goes on because not everyone will be like the Vikings in Berk and as long as they host a party of dragons, they will always be a target for those with vile intentions.
Throughout this three-film arc for Hiccup, he’s always had the romantic connection with Astrid (America Ferrera) laying on the horizon and furthering him as a character. While stepping into this leadership role, the idea of marriage begins to get pressed on him to fully be what everyone should aspire to be. This progression has been well-documented, but this film provides the opportunity for Toothless to find love with another similar dragon called Light Fury. The bond Toothless forms with her has all of the animal cuteness everyone should want and it provides extra complication for the actions of an alpha dragon when confronted with having to choose the safety of the dragon he loves and the well-being of others. With dragons that essentially act like advanced dogs, giving this moral dilemma at this point just makes sense and it’s sweet for Toothless to receive this added element.
As with any trilogy capper, this feature carries the most emotional weight, as it serves as the conclusion of films that have carried plenty of beautiful moments between the characters. Providing a sense of finality provides many moments here where the characters will interact for the final time especially in the tough decisions Hiccup must make from leading the citizens of Berk. Unsurprisingly, this film nails it in such a heartwarming way for all, because they’re no longer children who can simply believe in a utopia. Both Hiccup and Toothless have grown up and the maturity displays serve as an excellent way to wrap everything up.
Definitely not one to overlook, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World provides all of the charm we have grown accustomed to in the story of Hiccup and his lovely dragon, Toothless. It gives them moments where they need to step up and make impactful decisions that impact more than just themselves. With both of them being leaders, the buck stops with them and it all just works so well.