‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’: Confronting the Politics of Hate

IndieWire | 2/20/2019 | Staff
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Dean DeBlois always knew how he wanted to end his “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy, with a grownup Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) uttering author Cressida Cowell’s mysterious line, “There were dragons when I was a boy.” But getting there required a painful narrative course correction in explaining why humans and dragons could no longer peacefully co-exist.

Still, the end result in exploring the different paths to leadership for the Viking ruler and his faithful dragon pal, Toothless, concludes the DreamWorks franchise on a stirringly emotional note. At the same time, “The Hidden World” displays a richness and beauty unmatched at the studio, making it an Oscar contender next season.

Dragon - Hidden - World

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”

“After several drafts of being quite loyal to the continuity of the first and second films, I set it aside and decided what threads I must keep alive and how much new could I bring to it,” DeBlois said. I rewrote it completely from scratch, jettisoned Drago [Djimon Hounsou], in favor of a successor in his ranks, Grimmel [F. Murray Abraham], and he was the new villain of the film.”

DreamWorks - Chief - Jeffrey - Katzenberg - Director

This, after former DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg warned the director that he was flirting with commercial disaster if he didn’t find a fresh direction, and, after Steven Spielberg advised that he was biting off more than he could chew in pursuing a redemptive arc for Drago.

Like Hiccup, though, DeBlois concluded his cinematic quest with a greater sense of awareness and satisfaction. At the same time, he made his movie even more relevant by tapping into Trump and the politics of hate with the ruthless dragon hunter, Grimmel.

Dragon - Hidden - World

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”

“It’s a philosophy that’s diametrically opposed to Hiccup and he becomes curious about Hiccup and tries to teach him a lesson by crushing his...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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