Toothless Flies Into Theaters For 'How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' Hiccup and Toothless will return to theaters this weekend when the conclusion of the animated How To Train Your Dragon trilogy takes viewers to a hidden world.
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Toothless Flies Into Theaters For 'How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'

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Toothless Flies Into Theaters For 'How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'

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Toothless Flies Into Theaters For 'How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'

Toothless Flies Into Theaters For 'How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'

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Hiccup and Toothless will return to theaters this weekend when the conclusion of the animated How To Train Your Dragon trilogy takes viewers to a hidden world.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Hiccup and Toothless - if you know that those are the names of a young Viking and his dragon, you're probably looking forward to the conclusion of their animated trilogy. Critic Bob Mondello says "How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World" is everything its predecessors were and more.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: We begin unusually for an animated film in darkness, a figure emerging from the fog, his sword bursting into flames, sort of the Viking equivalent of a light saber.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Oh, you're a demon.

JAY BARUCHEL: (As Hiccup) No, I'm not a demon. I'm not a demon. See; just a guy - just a guy here to rescue these dragons, so...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) But you walked through fire.

BARUCHEL: (As Hiccup) Dragon scales - dragons shed a lot.

MONDELLO: This is Hiccup, who we left as a teenager and who's now a more or less mature young leader of a town that in the first two movies turned itself into...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD")

BARUCHEL: (As Hiccup) The world's first dragon-Viking utopia.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Your utopia maybe. Mine's less crowded and more sanitary.

MONDELLO: Truth be told, this utopia was not built to last. Even if dragons weren't forever knocking it over, outside threats have been looming. What did seem built to last was the relationship between Hiccup and his dragon pal Toothless...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD")

BARUCHEL: (As Hiccup) Hey, bud, wait up.

MONDELLO: ...Who's like a fire-breathing puppy - huge, playful and loyal. Though a discovery in a clearing in the woods...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD")

BARUCHEL: (As Hiccup) He's not the only one.

MONDELLO: ...Could change that. They thought Toothless was the last of his kind, but he spots and is drawn to...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD")

AMERICA FERRERA: (As Astrid) Another Night Fury.

MONDELLO: ...Glistening and pale.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD")

BARUCHEL: (As Hiccup) It's more like a Bright Fury.

FERRERA: (As Astrid) A Light Fury.

BARUCHEL: (As Hiccup) Yeah, yours is better probably.

MONDELLO: There's also a villain and aerial dragon fights and the usual animated buffoonery. But what's really captivating here is the wordless stuff, the dragon play in which Toothless tries to impress this sleek feline siren in the woods by doing the world's most awkward courtship dance.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD")

MONDELLO: If the boy and dragon training bits in the first movie were homages marriages to scenes in "The Black Stallion," these sequences are like something out a born free - puppyish dragon wooing his kittenish girlfriend - actually, she is kind of lionish - and learning from her about the call of the wild. The learning part has always been central in this series - Hiccup's learning, too. In earlier installments, he lost a parent and a limb. Now he's confronting the possibility that he may also lose his best friend.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD")

BARUCHEL: (As Hiccup) You do know my leg isn't a chew toy, don't you?

MONDELLO: The lessons are accompanied by impressive animated images - water that looks persuasively wet, glaciers that pick up atmospheric pinks and yellows, scenes where foreground figures in a dark tint are backed by a bright, sunlit field.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) Grimmel the Grisly - famous back where I'm from, the smartest dragon hunter I ever met.

MONDELLO: This bit looks so much like a scene from "Ben-Hur" you can almost forget you're watching animation. Presumably that's because cinematographer Roger Deakins returns as visual consultant, the man responsible for the look of "No Country For Old Men" and the 007 movie "Skyfall." This time he's helping the animators harness technology light years ahead of the first dragon training movie, and he's allowed Dean DeBlois, the writer-director of the series, to envision the maturing of his characters with both realism and real feeling.

When Hiccup sees that what's best for his dragon Toothless has to take precedence over what's best for his relationship with Toothless, well, let's just say that as the "How To Train Your Dragon" trilogy drew to its satisfying close, if there was a dry eye in the house, it wasn't mine. I'm Bob Mondello.

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