by Hunter Johnson
After two feature films, four short films, and 118 episodes of a tv show, the “How To Train Your Dragon” franchise has finally reached its end with “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”
“The Hidden World” follows Hiccup and his dragon Toothless as their village of Berk acts as a massive refugee camp for all dragons who need it.
To put it in a single word, this film is epic. And that’s not a reference to how enjoyable it is — although it certainly is that. The epic proportions of scope in this film are magnificent, whether talking about the visual effects or the story or the evolution of the characters or the time span of the film. Everything about “Hidden World” is on a whole new scale that the first two never even touched.
The director of the film, Dean DeBlois, closes out his trilogy with possibly the biggest bang that any animated trilogy has ever had. It’s so rare for a trilogy to consistently be great to the very end, but DeBlois has done it. With this film, he’s tied all three films together perfectly and created one of the best trilogies ever made, on par with great trilogies such as “Toy Story,” “Indiana Jones” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Jay Baruchel shines as Hiccup. Having voiced the character through all the films and the entirety of the tv show, he’s clearly passionate about this character and puts his all into it. He was excellent at portraying Hiccup as a scrawny sixteen-year old in the first film and he’s just as fantastic at portraying him as a grown adult in the final film.
America Ferrera voices Astrid and has always been one of the greatest characters in this series. Being one of the only other actors to also reprise her role in the tv show, Ferrera is fully devoted to this role and understands the importance of being someone who is both a capable leader and a loving/supportive partner to Hiccup.
The cast doesn’t have a single weak link. Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig and Gerard Butler all return to their now beloved characters and they all have their own great moments throughout the film.
“The Hidden World” has four main stars, the first two being the director and the cast, and the other two being the cinematography and the music.
The first two films had great effects with brilliant cinematography, but “Hidden World” had five extra years of new technology. Some of the shots in this film are beyond mesmerizing. The amount of detail in the animation makes it one of the most enjoyable theater-going experiences a viewer can have, from the always beautiful sequences of watching the dragons fly through the clouds to the small details of how Toothless moves around, mixing features of cats, dogs and owls to create a wonderfully imaginative creature.
And then there’s the music. These films would be nearly nothing without John Powell’s utterly magnificent scores of music. The themes throughout this trilogy deserve all the recognition in the world and “The Hidden World” only continues that streak of great motifs and musical themes.
“How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is the most cinematic animated film ever made. Possibly the only other to come close is the first film in the same trilogy. It feels like a live-action film. It deserves credit not only as a great final film in a trilogy, but as a great film overall. Its perfect mixture of music and sound with effects and cinematography create an atmospheric experience unlike any other.
Hunter Johnson is a sophomore theatre major and an arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He spends his time acting on stage, reading and watching Star Wars, and occasionally doing homework.
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