The key moment for any sequel is when the same writer or director of previous versions takes ownership of the new one. It always helps the film keep the same tone, beautify it, and more importantly stick to the original no matter what. The reason “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” succeeds is Dean DeBlois who draws an excellent conclusion to one of the most outstanding animated projects filled with heart, love, and care not only towards its little viewers but to the storyline as well, which honestly speaking, could not get any better.
The events of “The Hidden World” takes one year after the previous film, in which Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), his “the night fury” friend, Toothless, and fellow dragon riders continue rescuing more and more dragons from captivity or from getting killed. As he remembers what his father told him about a possible place for dragons that is out of reach of people but dragons can live and exist in peace, the young man is determined to find that heaven for good. However, his plan was disrupted by Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) the Grisly, the infamous dragon hunter that has already killed all the night furies he could find except Toothless, his only target left to fulfill his dreadful mission.
The new and charming character in “The Hidden Dragon” is a White Fury that instantly falls for Toothless. The cure scenes they share together will make the viewers smile and even cheer up a bit. However, the same dragon was used by hunter Grimmel as bait to capture Toothless as an alpha. As we watch two unlike characters or rather rivals, the two men truly underestimate each other’s capability – Hiccup does not mind picking up any fight as he knows, with or without dragons, he can succeed using his own skills, while Grimmel is a whole different story. He is not only an excellent hunter but also a great enemy whose determination and unwillingness to give up the idea over Toothless will make the two men meet each other in a fight which only one with a big heart can win.
That said, “The Hidden Dragon” manages to have a flawless narrative, beautiful animations, outstanding colors, and a stellar cast that gave their voice to the characters that will never die either in the cinematic world or outside of it. As it has a tough concept and loads of fighting scenes, it may distract or even scare children under six, but anyone above it should be fine to enjoy this heartwarming piece that reminds us why we love animated cinema so much. DeBlois’ script is thoughtful, gives an excellent insight into the story and puts a logical conclusion to it. Indeed, everyone will live happily ever after. But for some, separation is inevitable because we humans are yet to learn how to share this land with all other creatures. Until that time arrives, we must protect them from ourselves, our endless greed, and lack of empathy.
Yet, this film shows we can be better. If a dragon can be taught to fly under a human’s command, we human beings can also learn from dragons the qualities of love, dedication, kindness, and embracing the opportunity to open our hearts to something even nature would go against. Whatever it is, if that helps us to unlock the hidden spot in our heart and soul to begin caring more, then why not? So far, no one has ever gotten hurt for being a gentle, respectful, and loving human. And this should be the main takeaway from “The Hidden World”, which I am sure, you will find equally fascinating and exciting at the same time.