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May 28, 2019

Blu-Ray Review: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World



AMAZON
After being a little upset at the way the fantasy drama Game of Thrones ended last Sunday, I ended up spending my Memorial Day evening watching a different (& better) dragon tale - How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PG; 104 minutes), which landed on Blu-ray and DVD last week from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Hidden World is the final chapter in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, which is based on the children book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell. Written and directed by Dean DeBlois, the film features the talented voice cast of Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, F. Murray Abraham , Kit Harington, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Picking up one year after the second film, Hiccup, Toothless, the other dragon-riders, and their entire Viking village must go on a journey to find a new home after being threatened by the legendary dragon hunter Grimmel the Grisly and his army of minions (and a few evil dragons). At Grimmel's disposal is a female Light Fury who easily captures Toothless's heart and sets the stage for the the dragon-riders' final battle.

Bonus Features include:
  • Alternate Opening with Intro by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois
  • DreamWorks Shorts:
    • Bilby – Directed by Liron Topaz, Pierre Perifel and JP Sans; produced by Jeff Hermann and Kelly Cooney Cilella. Threatened daily by the deadly residents and harsh environment of Australia’s Outback, a lonesome Bilby finds himself an unwitting protector, and unexpected friend, to a helpless (and quite adorable) baby bird. 
    • Bird Karma – Directed by William Salazar and produced by Jeff Hermann, the beautifully artistic 2D short film Bird Karma tells a delightfully lyrical and fully unexpected tale of a long-legged bird’s journey of blissful joy, inescapable greed and the accidental discovery of the consequences when too much is not enough.
  • Deleted Scenes with Intros by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois
  • How to Voice Your Viking – Go behind the scenes with the cast as they record the Viking voices of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD. 
  • Creating an Epic Dragon Tale – Discover what filmmakers learned while crafting this epic dragon trilogy.
  • How I Learned from Dragons – The diverse cast of characters reveal why they think the dragon trilogy is so special. 
  • Brave Wilderness Presents: Nature + Dragons = Awesome – Join Coyote Peterson, host of Brave Wilderness, as he explores what it takes to make the dragon’s characters come to life. 
  • The Dragon Sheep Chronicles – Protecting sheep from the dragons of Berk is no easy task but Hiccup has a plan. 
  • A Deck of Dragons – Observe four new dragons as Fishlegs unveils his original deck of dragon trading cards. 
  • Growing Up with Dragons – After years of being with these characters, hear the lasting effects of the dragon trilogy from the filmmaker’s perspective.
  • The Evolving Character Design of Dragons – Cast and crew reveal what it was like to evolve not only the characters of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, but themselves as well. 
  • Drawing Dragons – Get a glimpse of what goes in to designing a DreamWorks dragon. 
  • Epic Villain – A different kind of villain, Grimmel brings great challenges to the village of Berk. Go behind the scenes as filmmakers breakdown this epic character.
  •  Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds – Hold on tight as Astrid sums up the whole dragon trilogy in a legendary 60 seconds. 
  • Welcome to New Berk – With Hiccup as your guide, get a firsthand look at the updated Viking village of New Berk.
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Dean DeBlois, Producer Bradford Lewis and Head of Character Animation Simon Otto.


Final Thoughts

I had never even heard of the children book series before watching 2010's How to Train Your Dragon, which became one of my favorite animated films in recent years. "The Hidden World" is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. Almost all of the voice cast is back, minus T.J. Miller who was replaced by Justin Rupple as the voice of Tuffnut. The computer animation is wonderful, and the picture and sound qualities are both excellent on the Blu-ray.

Overall, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is an exciting and heartwarming family-friendly fantasy.

FYI: If you haven't watched the previous films, I recommend doing so before seeing "The Hidden World."
*Note: I received a review copy from the Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. 
All opinions are my own.

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