Closing the last chapter of a childhood favorite – How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World


Marjorie Hsu, Staff Writer

One of our childhood favorite series, How to Train your Dragon, has finally come to an end with its third movie released Feb. 22. 

The story picks up a year after Hiccup becomes chief on the island of Berk, and he is tested when a new foe threatens Berk’s peace between humans and dragons. In search of a ‘hidden world’ to escape imminent danger, Toothless finds another of his kind which challenges Hiccup’s belief in the harmony between dragons and humans.

I saw the movie on the second day of its release, and it was thrilling, heart-tugging, entertaining, and satisfying to the end, which not all sequels manage to do. I would rate the movie an 8 out of 10, based on elements such as plot progression, visuals, and themes.

Though the villain is not a total plot twist, it’s an interesting take to see the person Hiccup could’ve become if he never befriended Toothless in the first movie. The enemy also fits the story as he intensifies Hiccup’s struggle as a leader. By pushing Hiccup to the edge, it’s intriguing to see the core of Hiccup’s character unravel from his growth in prior movies to how he must continue to emotionally mature as he grows up. Yet, in spite of the change he still remains the funny and sometimes clumsy Viking we all love.

Some people may find the development of certain side characters unexpected. For instance, it feels somewhat unnatural for Hiccup’s friend, Tuffnut, a mischievous twin with his head up in the clouds to suddenly become more of a mentor or wingman to Hiccup. Or, how another of Hiccup’s friend called Snotlout, a small and very confident Viking to develop too much fondness for Hiccup’s mother.

The animation for this movie is absolutely breathtaking and very worth your money if you watch it on IMax (3-D.) This is because there are detailed cinematic scenes where it feels like you’re floating as the endless stretching sky is adorned with clouds that fade into warm colors of the sunset or neon ones in the darkness. This may also undoubtedly make you want to ride a dragon.

In terms of wrapping up the overall series, it wasn’t too bad. It sealed the things it foreshadowed since the first and second movie with Hiccup’s romantic love interest, and parent bonding. The film also works with the inevitable fate of what it means to grow up and learning how to let things go. Developing emotional maturity appeals to the audience that grew watching the series as many of us head on towards adult-hood. Furthermore, the movie also shows us the beauty of such a strong friendship regardless of obstacles, time, and being able to breathe fire.

The trilogy sequel had the most profitable opening weekend than all the previous movies by “grossing $55 million in its first three days,” instead of “the second movie’s $49.4 million debut.”

Ever since its debut in 2010, it’s been a raging success. It’s one of the most followed trilogies on Rotten Tomatoes with all the three movies scoring higher than a 90 so far. Due to its success, the series has also produced a TV show available on Netflix called: “Dragons: Race to the Edge,” a video game, and various merchandise.

A quick fan art sketch of Toothless (Credit: Marjorie Hsu)

Interestingly, the series was based off of a children’s book series with the same name, written by Cressida Cowell. The concept of ‘How to Train your Dragon’ existed as early as 2003  and caught the eye of some DreamWorks executives. During production of the first movie, some of the directors who worked on Lilo and Stitch also worked in the first movie which inspired part of Toothless’s design—particularly his head—to appear similar to Stitch’s. Many funny and interesting works went behind all the films, one of them being in the second movie one of the creators stuck a duct-tape ball to his cat and recorded it which was used as a strong animation reference for Toothless thrashing around.