Hiccup and Toothless return in a satisfying conclusion to the film trilogy in How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World(2019). 4 Stars

Hiccup and Toothless return in a satisfying conclusion to the film trilogy in How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World(2019).

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)
Released: 22 Feb 2019
Rated: PG
Runtime: 104 min
Director: Dean DeBlois
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett
Writer(s): Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell (based upon the "How to Train Your Dragon" book series by)
Plot: When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn't the only Night Fury, he must seek "The Hidden World", a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.
IMDB rating: 7.7
MetaScore: 71

Disc Information
Studio: Universal
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, Spanish 7.1 DD+:Spanish 7.1 DD+, French 7.1 DD+:French 7.1 DD+
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 Hr. 44 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: Amaray
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 05/21/2019
MSRP: $49.98

The Production: 3.5/5

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock, III(Jar Baruchel) fancied himself as a dragon slayer until he realized his empathy and rapport for Toothless the dragon.  The Vikings and dragons learned to coexist peacefully as Hiccup rose to leadership of his tribe.  The dragon population has crowded their island by the beginning of this film which leads to the quest to find the legendary Hidden World, a lost kingdom where dragons can live peacefully without being hunted.

The arrival of villainous Grimmel the Grisly(F. Murray Abraham) creates an urgency to their quest as Grimmel wants to hunt down the dragons.  Grimmel uses a captured White Fury dragon as a lure for Toothless, to good effect as Toothless and White Fury fall in love.  This creates a dilemma for Hiccup, as he sees his bond with Toothless slipping away as their lives evolve into adulthood.  Nonetheless, Hiccup grants freedom to Toothless by fashioning a tail for him that enables him to fly solo with Hiccup’s guidance.
The quest for the Hidden World leads the Vikings to their new island home of New Berk.  The Hidden World is discovered ultimately as Grimmel arrives in his final efforts to capture Toothless.  In addition to Baruchel and Abraham, voice actors include America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Kit Harington, Kristeen Wiig, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, David Tennant, and Jonah Hill.  Writer/director Dean DeBlois returns to this final film of the trilogy with a resonant story that reflects the bittersweet transition to adulthood with a conclusive ending to the trilogy.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World appears on 4K UHD in its original 2.39:1 screen aspect ratio.  This is the first animated feature that I have seen in 4K that truly expands boundaries with the colors and hues that 4K disc can provide.  Although the early scenes do not stimulate the senses with polychromatic tones, the film opens up with exquisite colors of dragons and scenery that is served well in HDR.  Fine detail and shadow detail are likewise fine, but the colors are where this transfer really shines.

Audio: 4/5

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is presented by default in an English Dolby Atmos mix that is immersive, but with limited employment of directional audio.  The score with themes composed by John Powell is the highlight of the audio mix with its resonant and memorable melodies.  The Dolby Atmos mix is without any apparent flaws but does not necessarily rise to the threshold of demo level.

Special Features: 5/5

Special features on the 4K disc include all of the following:

DreamWorks Shorts:  “Bilby”(8:01) tells the story of a boy in the Australian Outback who acts as a protector for a baby bird, and “Bird Karma”(4:48) is a traditional hand-drawn animated cartoon about a bird facing consequences for its greedy behavior.
Alternate Opening(3:19):  This includes an optional commentary by writer/director Dean DeBlois.  This alternate version has the opening sequence staged in a different location.  This version was never fully rendered, so the audio of dialogue and music accompanies storyboard illustrations.
Deleted Scenes:  These scenes include an optional introduction by writer/director Dean DeBlois.  They include all of the following:  “Automatic Tail”(1:59) was completed with intermediate animation, while “Protector vs. Captor”(2:39), “Spy Mission”(1:34), “Mind Before The Sword”(1:06), and “Your Responsibility”(1:56) are presented with storyboards and audio.
How To Voice Your Viking(1:33):  Brief featurette with footage of voice actors in the sound studio interspersed with footage from the film.
Creating an Epic Dragon Tale(4:25):  The creative team discusses creation of this film centering on the relationship between Toothless and the Light Fury.
How I Learned From Dragons(3:42):  Voice actors discuss the interesting challenges of bringing these characters to life.
Brave Wilderness Presents: Nature + Dragons = Awesome(7:52):  Coyote Peterson, host of Brave Wilderness, hosts this featurette that discusses the flight mechanics of other creatures that influenced the presentation of dragons in flight in these films.  This featurette is broken down into 2 separate chapters entitled “Birds and Bats Are Awesome” and “Animal + Animal = Dragon” which are playable individually or with a “Play All” selection.
The Dragon Sheep Chronicles:  Brief tongue-in-cheek featurette talks about how sheep are disguised in the films so they will not be eaten by dragons.  This featurette is broken down into 2 separate chapters entitled “Friend vs. Food'(2:35) and “The Secret Sheep Society”(1:18) which are playable individually or with a “Play All” selection.
A Deck of Dragons(3:29):  Fishlegs(Christopher Mintz-Plasse) hosts this featurette demonstrating his deck of cards with different types of dragons.
Growing Up With Dragons(3:34):  The creative team discusses adapting the original books by Cressida Cowell.
The Evolving Character Design of Dragons(3:18):  The creative team discusses the evolution and growth of character models in the films.
Drawing Dragons(3:09):  Production designer Pierre-Olivier Vincent and writer/director Dean DeBlois discuss drawing dragons inspired by designs in nature.
Epic Villain(1:44):  Grimmel, played by F. Murray Abraham, is discussed by the creative team.
Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 seconds(1:09):  America Ferrera narrates this featurette in character as Astrid.
Welcome to New Berk(2:13):  Jay Baruchel narrates this featurette in character as Hiccup as he tells the history of the Vikings’ relocation to New Berk depicted in the film.
Feature length audio commentary by writer/director Dean DeBlois, producer Bradford Lewis, and Simon Otto, head of character animation.
Included is a blu-ray disc of the film and a paper insert with validation code for an augmented reality experience for a Dragon Plus Instant Game, which is a virtual pet dragon game, available on Facebook and Messenger apps which is compatible with iOS and android devices.
In addition, a paper insert with validation code is included for digital download of the film via the Movies Anywhere app.

Overall: 4/5

How To Train Your Dragon The Hidden World is an engrossing conclusion to the film trilogy and TV series.  The 4k UHD video presentation is excellent, and the Dolby Atmos audio is good but not great.  The 4K UHD/blu-ray combo includes a wealth of special features on the UHD disc rather than limiting them solely to the blu-ray disc.  Audiences who enjoyed the earlier films and the TV series are certain to enjoy this conclusive wrap-up for these characters


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Published by

Timothy E