‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ film review
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
If you’ve ever imagined what it would be like to have a loyal partnership with a dragon, not only are you not alone, but there is a fantastic opportunity to experience that connection in vivid 3D. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was released on February 22 as the final installment in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy.
The movie follows Hiccup, chief of his village Berk, as he embarks with his dragon companion Toothless to find a dragon utopia Hiccup’s father had called “The Hidden World.” Per the usual, Hiccup and Toothless are confronted by a dragon-hunter bent on killing all Night Furies, including Toothless. Whilst Hiccup’s own relationship with his girlfriend Astrid advances, Toothless also meets a Light Fury whom he quickly becomes attached to.
The depth throughout the film is extraordinary. You feel your small size while flying through the endless cloud-filled skies, trapped and surrounded in caged chambers, and sneaking around in vast glittering caves. The world is built in such a way that the sky is not the limit, nor are the ocean’s depths. Even the different communities capture this colossal scale; villages have towers built out of wood reaching the clouds, and battleships travel the seas in fleets of hundreds.
Camera angles justify the depth as well as all the different viewpoints in the film. The perspective throughout the movie switches between long shots, medium shots, and close-ups, in addition to viewing the world through the eyes of the humans and the dragons.
Beautifully paired with the camera angles depicting the scene, the settings are completely next-level. Every building in the villages has a unique design and colour. The clouds never swirl the same. The weather is a powerful depicter of what is happening in the film. In peaceful scenes, such as the beginning of the movie in Hiccup’s village of Berk, the colourful buildings pop under radiant sunshine. However, the best sensory details are in the texturing of hair and especially sand, which look genuinely real.
The minor characters are all characterized in original and very entertaining ways. Humour for all ages is sprinkled throughout dialogue. For instance, Toothless, on his mission to impress the newly met Light Fury, begins watching his fellow dragons perform mating dances with each other. He then takes to practicing the dance (awfully) with his own shadow on the wall. One of the Vikings watching the Night Fury sums up everyone’s thoughts by saying, “That’s just sad.” However, none of the jokes among the friendly Vikings are delivered with malice.
Another wonderful aspect regarding the characters’ relationships is that even if they disagree with one another or have any conflict, they resolve it peacefully and support each other nonetheless. One example is when Hiccup initially brings up the journey to The Hidden World to the rest of his village. He had told his girlfriend Astrid prior, however she did not think it was the best solution to their problem. Yet when Hiccup presents his idea to everyone else and is immediately met with an uproar, Astrid hushes the clan with, “Hear him out!” The same support and respect are demonstrated time and again by the characters towards one another.
The How to Train Your Dragon series has captured my heart ever since I saw the first movie on August 28, 2010 in Holland Park’s “Movies Under the Stars” event. Now that the trilogy is over, I am glad I got to experience it while growing older alongside Hiccup and the rest of these lovable characters.