Whew. That’s way too long of a title — sorry for the abbreviation.
I’m a huge fan of this franchise. I guess it’s a kids movie, but I love that it has real stakes. In the first one, Hiccup lost a leg! And in the second one, his dad died! That’s some heavy stuff, and I love it.
Hidden World fits in nicely with the rest of the pack, keeping up the stakes, the heart, and the amazing animation. It follows its predecessors with a familiar, yet fresh plot. The writers really seem to like the idea of free will. In the first movie, a dragon required all the others to pay it tribute. In the second, the Alpha literally controlled them, and this one follows the leader with it’s own take.
My favorite part of the movie has always been Toothless. He’s a wonderfully created character with a ton of personality despite his inability to speak. I daresay he’s one of the best non-speaking characters ever created. And in this movie, he’s even more awesome because he gets his first taste of love when a “Lightfury” shows up with all the right curves (I assume… I’m not a dragon). It’s adorable watching him try to understand the complexities of dragon courtships, and even funnier to watch a human try to coach him through it.
But alas, it can’t just be about love. There are tough decisions, dragons in peril, and a parallel plot about Hiccup not just having the title of Chieftain, but really embracing it. In this latter story point, Astrid (voiced by the awesome America Ferrera) really gets to shine and take on a more vital role in the movie. I really like how the movie doesn’t belabor the relationship between Hiccup and Astrid. It’s just taken for granted that it’s strong and loving, and there’s no need to put it in jeopardy.
I’m also a little surprised to see the same theme in an animated movie for the third time in 6 months. Though a bit more subtle than Wreck-It Ralph and The Lego Movie 2, Hidden World also hints at the idea of letting those you love be who they want to be. I guess it’s something society needs to hear right now!
The villain is a little one-dimensional, and the threat never really looms as large as it seems like it should, but Hidden World is still a great family movie, with as much heart as any animated movie’s ever had. The trilogy couldn’t end any better than this. It might not make you cry, but I bet you’ll feel the tears at least knocking at the door.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Should you watch it? Yes!
Should you take your kids? Of course
What you should watch first: The first two movies in the series