Director: Dean DeBlois
Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett (VOICES)
Release Date: May 21, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
From DreamWorks Animation comes a surprising tale about growing up, finding the courage to face the unknown… and how nothing can ever train you to let go. What began as an unlikely friendship between an adolescent Viking and a fearsome Night Fury dragon has become an epic trilogy spanning their lives. When the sudden appearance of a female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup and Toothless must journey to a hidden world thought only to exist in myth. In this last chapter, Hiccup and Toothless will finally discover their true destinies, and dragon and rider will fight together to protect everything they’ve grown to treasure.
The final installment of the epic animated trilogy, ‘How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ rejoins our friends and heroes Hiccup and Toothless (along with the rest of their goofy gang of course) who have made serious headway in rescuing dragons far and wide since we last saw them, although as a result have found their village somewhat overpopulated. Yet the real trouble begins when a deadly hunter sets his sights on them and threatens the entire town, leaving their fate uncertain. Now, Hiccup and his friends must set off in search of a new temporary place to make home, while attempting to not only unravel the mystery of a rumored hidden world that could mean refuge for all of the dragons, but the sudden appearance of a female Light Fury as well who quickly captures the heart of Toothless.
‘How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ is simply phenomenal in every way. Not only a magnificent and moving film for the entire family in its own right, it also serves as a perfect and heartfelt conclusion to the series that should leave fans thoroughly satisfied and likely also brimming with emotion along the way. Always staying true to the themes of friendship and self that were so prominent throughout the series, while also naturally taking things in a somewhat new direction in order to emphasize the growth these characters have seen since the beginning, and of course introducing a new and dangerous adversary to the mix for the perfect balance of heart, danger and action; all the while never losing its stride for a moment.
Once again written and directed by Dean DeBlois (writer and director of the first two ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ films and ‘Lilo & Stitch’) and featuring a talented voice cast that includes numerous returning individuals along with a couple newcomers and includes Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, F. Murray Abraham, Kit Harington, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, with each helping tremendously to make this franchise as touching and perfect as it is. I can’t urge fans of the series strongly enough to make a point of going out of your way to check out ‘How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ at your earliest convenience. It’s a truly magnificent animated adventure and a perfect final installment to the trilogy that anyone who enjoyed the first two entries definitely won’t want to miss.
Overall, ‘How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ is a marvelous animated adventure and a truly perfect conclusion to the trilogy that should have fans enthralled from start to finish with this powerful final entry. Offering up plenty of action, thrills and danger combined with no shortage of heart and humor, while taking things to a perfectly satisfying overall outcome that fans will probably want to relive time and again. ‘How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ is definitely highly recommended. One of the best films of the year (animated or not) and a perfect final entry in the animated trilogy, any fans of the series won’t even want to think about missing out on this masterpiece and may also want to try and check it out sooner than later if you haven’t already had the pleasure.
The Blu-ray release of ‘How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful altogether and delivers a smooth, detailed and richly colored presentation from start to finish, with no notable issues or problems to be uncovered along the way. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit, heavily populated and fast moving sequences throughout, never allowing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Universal that should easily please fans of the animated franchise.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack serves up a crisp, clean and quite aggressive audio presentation throughout that fully embraces all seven available channels in order to send a plethora of activity throughout the various channels including action effects, dragons swooshing by, along with nature elements, bits of dialogue and more, while never resulting in any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously becoming distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a magnificent Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that delivers across the board and perfectly complements this outstanding and incredibly fun film.
The Blu-ray release of ‘How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ includes a fairly expansive collection of extras for fans of all ages. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Dean DeBlois, Producer Bradford Lewis and Head of Character Animation Simon Otto’, along with a couple animated ‘DreamWorks Shorts’: ‘Bilby’ (running approximately 8 minutes in length) and ‘Bird Karma’ (running approximately 5 minutes), plus an ‘Alternate Opening’ (running approximately 3 minutes) and a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ (approximately 9 minutes altogether) from the movie, all with Optional Introductions by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois. We are also treated to numerous Behind the Scenes Featurettes, fun videos and more including ‘How To Voice Your Viking’ (running approximately 90 seconds), ‘Creating an Epic Dragon Tale’ (approximately 4 minutes), ‘How I Learned From Dragons’ (4 minutes), ‘A Deck of Dragons’ (3 minutes), ‘Growing Up With Dragons’ (3 minutes), ‘The Evolving Character Design Of Dragons’ (3 minutes), ‘Drawing Dragons’ (3 minutes), ‘Epic Villain’ (2 minutes), ‘Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds’ (1 minute), ‘Welcome To New Berk’ (2 minutes) plus 2 entries of both ‘Brave Wilderness Presents: Nature + Dragons = Awesome’ (approximately 8 minutes combined) and ‘The Dragon Sheep Chronicles’ (3 minutes total).