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I’m not ready for this guys. I’m really not. My heart can’t take it. I don’t want to live in a world where this franchise will have an end. Have we discovered the ability to traverse different dimensions? I want to live in the one where these movies keep coming out with new installments that are just as great as they’ve been. Too much wishful thinking? I thought so. Life sucks. But I bet this movie won’t!
The story looks like it’s about Hiccup and Toothless discovering a female dragon that’s almost exactly like Toothless, but lighter. There’s also some jerk who wants to destroy everything that is Berk.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Jay Baruchel (GOON , FANBOYS , and the upcoming THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS ), America Ferrera (THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS ), Cate Blanchett (HOUSE/CLOCK , THOR 3 , CAROL , and the upcoming WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? ), and F. Murray Abraham (ROBIN HOOD ).
In support, we have Craig Ferguson (A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS ), Kristen Wiig (MOTHER! , SAUSAGE PARTY , THE MARTIAN , and upcoming films WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? and WONDER WOMAN 1984 ), Kit Harington (SILENT HILL: REVELATIONS , GAME OF THRONES [2011 – ongoing], and the upcoming THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHN F. DONOVAN ), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (TROLLS  and PARANORMAN ), and Gerard Butler (HUNTER KILLER , GEOSTORM , OLYMPUS  and LONDON HAS FALLEN , and upcoming films ANGEL HAS FALLEN  and NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN )
Now for the crew. Writing and directing, we have Dean DeBlois, known for LILO & STITCH (2002). Composing the score is John Powell, known for STAR WARS: SOLO (2018), FERDINAND (2017), JASON BOURNE (2016), and X-MEN: LAST STAND (2006). The cinematographer is Gil Zimmerman, known for PUSS IN BOOTS (2011). Finally, the editor is John K. Carr, known for OVER THE HEDGE (2006) and THE LAND BEFORE TIME (1988).
Overall, I’m beyond excited for this. With that said… meh, do we really need another jerk-wad who wants to dominate or destroy everything? I don’t know, but this evil dude reminds me of Drago Bloodfist. I suppose we’ll just have to see what they do with him. I’m sure this movie’s going to be great, so whatever happens, I’m sure I’m going to love it.
This is my honest opinion of: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
Set one year after the events with Drago Bloodfist. Berk has enjoyed a fair amount of peace and prosperity with their beloved dragons under the tender care and protection under Chief Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his best friend, Toothless the Night Fury alpha dragon and both continue to free captured dragons from dragon trappers. In their bid to put an end to Hiccup’s interferences, the leaders of the legion of trappers building a dragon army, they hire the most lethal of dragon killers, Grimmel (voiced by F. Murray Abraham). He proves that he’s a ruthless and cunning man who threatens everything that is Berk. Knowing that he can follow through on his threat, Hiccup decides that Berk has to move all of Berk to a place that may not even exist. As a boy, Hiccup’s father, Stoick (voiced by Gerard Butler), was obsessed with finding “the Hidden World,” the birthplace of all dragons that no one has ever found. Traveling beyond their known world, Hiccup and his Berkians travel to escape Grimmel’s wrath. To make matters even more complicated, Toothless has discovered that he’s not the last one of his kind and meets a Light Fury, named so due to her white and shiny coloration. However, she doesn’t like humans, least of all Hiccup, and both must learn how to be their best selves apart.
I’m not ready! I don’t want this to be the last of these movies! I don’t know if I said this in my initial impressions, I probably did, but I really need to emphasize that statement! *sigh* But with that said, let’s pull some sliver of professionalism out of my butt and mellow out. I say this movie is… really good. That’s where I’m sitting right now. I know I don’t love it as much as I wanted to, but I know it’s still a great and semi-understandable end to the franchise.
But as much as I want to stick to only the good stuff, I can’t deny that there are aspects to this movie that I didn’t like, or fell short of my expectations.
The lesser problems that I had involved the villain, Grimmel. He wasn’t really doing it for me. I won’t lie that there’s some well-done aspects to him, like that he’s always prepared for an attack and can infiltrate Hiccup’s home and nonchalantly sit in the Chief’s throne and be smug about it. There’s certainly slivers of him being a good villain. My issues arise from two things, his voice actor, Abraham, and Grimmel’s character. First off, make no mistake, Abraham is a legend in the acting world. He’s an underrated heavy-weight and any movie should be lucky to have him in it (with some choice exceptions). But I feel like he was a bit miscast here. His voice felt too… I don’t know, petite, I guess? Consider, Djimon Hounsou has a strong, deep voice. Him playing a villain almost makes too much sense and does it well. Abraham, on the other hand, came across like he was trying to be goofy in a kids movie, as opposed to just being goofy, in those respective scenes anyway. But even when he’s supposed to be threatening, I wasn’t all that threatened by him. He just doesn’t have a threatening voice. As for Grimmel’s character, he feels really wishy-washy about his feelings toward dragons. He hates them and relishes killing them, especially Night Furys, but he keeps dragons under his command as his own personal attack dogs. Sure, it’s revealed that they have their uses, their poison makes them susceptible to mind control, but… why bother with dragons that he hates? Just kill them instead of control them. This didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. A smaller issue to be sure, but an issue.
But now we get to the biggest problem that I had with the movie, and that’s the ending. It’s not the “saying goodbye” thing. That was sort of strongly hinted at throughout the marketing. The issue is how they try to play both sides of how this movie could have, and should have, ended. There was only two ways. Either the Berkians go with the dragons to the Hidden World and disappear with them, or the dragons and humans will forever live separately. Here’s the problem, the Hidden World is never closed off. It’s a giant hole in the ground where anyone can discover it on accident. As this movie clearly indicates, there are other continents, so it’s entirely plausible that someone other than the dragon trappers and Berk to find. So if the entrance is never closed off, there’s no reason for this feeling of finality between Hiccup and Toothless. Either one could go to the other world and easily visit each other. So why in blazes is their reunion in the final sequence such a big deal when it should have been perfectly plausible? Wouldn’t it have been more powerful if there truly was a finality for their goodbye? Doing both takes away from the power.
Beyond that, I really wish I could get into the good aspects, but it’s nothing that I haven’t said before in the previous installments. The animation is gorgeous. The comedy hits for the most part, there are some incredibly sweet moments, the action is great, it’s everything you’d want in one of these flicks. It’s definitely the weakest of the franchise, and the stuff that disappointed me certainly stands out more than the good stuff, but it’s still worth a watch and I recommend it.
My honest rating for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD: 4/5
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