How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Poster

The How to Train Your Dragon series has been one of the few DreamWorks Animation franchises that have had a consistent quality throughout its run. It’s a series that has taken risks and put together stories that appeal to all ages. It’s just a shame that the third and final installment of the series is a bit of a letdown. The film isn’t bad, it’s just it doesn’t quite reach the same level as its far superior predecessors. To put it simply, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a bland and generic sequel.

The film doesn’t take as many risks with the story as the other films did. At times, the other films went dark to add a lot of emotional impact to the stories. This time around, The Hidden World plays it a little too safe. In addition, the brand-new characters are easily forgettable. The film’s villain is one-dimensional and Toothless’ love interest is too bland.

Despite these issues, there’s a message in the film that can touch people of all ages. Since it’s the final film, there’s a finality to the film. Thus, the film’s message of “letting the things that you love go” is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It’s actually quite a fitting ending. At the same time, The Hidden World Is still entertaining and the humor, although mostly childish now, is still pretty funny.

Although the series has had a wide array of characters, the heart and soul of the film still lie with Toothless and Hiccup. Their scenes are still the biggest highlights in the film. Their scenes lend to much of the heart (and tears) that we’ve come to expect for a How to Train Your Dragon film. Much like Toothless and Hiccup, the film’s visuals are always a treat. The series has always showcased the advancement of DreamWorks’ animation. That doesn’t change here since it’s beautiful on all levels.

Overall, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a bit of a disappointing sequel. The film is still entertaining and funny, but the risks and emotion are severely lacking in this film. The film does give a nice ending to a franchise that has given us a lot of entertainment over the years. Regardless of what you think of the film, it’s bittersweet to let Hiccup and Toothless go. Then again, that is the point of the entire film.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World - Astrid, Hiccup, and Toothless

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World hits Ultra HD Blu-ray (see it on Amazon) with an HDR transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The brightness is exceptionally brilliant in this transfer. In fact, the entire transfer itself is exceptional. The black levels are a deep dark black and luckily, there isn’t any crush in these dark areas. But the biggest highlight is the number of vibrant colors on the video transfer. It’s strikingly bold and a good representation of why you buy 4K Blu-rays in the first place (hint: it’s the HDR.)

For a film that’s a 4K upscale, the film is still really clear. The textures, particularly on the dragons, are well-defined and crisp. Of course, that’s to be expected with animated films. There is an incredibly slight softness in the edge details but that’s only visible if you stand really close to the TV. Overall, this is a fantastic transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World - Hiccup and Toothless

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World‘s Dolby Atmos track. The various sound effects throughout the film are playful and detailed. Not to mention, they pan perfectly across the soundstage which, in turn, fully immerses you within the film. The dialog is crisp and well-placed in quiet and action sequences. John Powell’s beautiful score envelopes you from all sides. Yes, that includes the overhead speakers as well.

Unfortunately, there isn’t as much activity in the overheads as you think. With as many dragons as there are, there isn’t a lot of dragons flying overhead. The dialog is crisp and well-placed during the quiet and action scenes. Thankfully, the LFE is featured quite a bit in this mix. The rumble from the crackling fire, crashing thunder, dragon roars, and cascading waterfalls all add some weight to this mix. Overall, this is an impressive audio mix.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Special Features
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World - Light Fury and Toothless

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Ultra HD Blu-ray has the following special features on it:

  • DreamWorks Shorts
    • Bilby
    • Bird Karma
  • Alternate Opening
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Automatic Tail
    • Protector vs Captor
    • Spy Mission
    • Mind Before the Sword
    • Your Responsibility
  • How to Voice Your Viking
  • Creating an Epic Dragon Tale
  • How I Learned From Dragons
  • Brave Wilderness Presents: Nature + Dragons = Awesome
    • Birds and Bats are Awesome
    • Animal + Animal = Awesome
  • The Dragon Sheep Chronicles
    • Friend vs Food
    • The Secret Sheep Society
  • A Deck of Dragons
  • Growing Up With Dragons
  • The Evolving Character Design of Dragons
  • Drawing Dragons
  • Epic Villain
  • Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds
  • Welcome to New Berk

As you tell from the list above, there is a lot of special features to go through. Bilby is a fun short which plays with the stereotype that everything in Australia is trying to kill you. It also helps that there’s a cute and adorable bird involved as well. Bird Karma is a weird animated short but it is rather beautiful. It’s not every day that you see a major animation studio support this kind of animation style.

The alternate opening features a rough animated sequence where Hiccup and Toothless are on a mission to save a dragon in the wild. When it comes to the deleted scenes, they’re incredibly rough CG animation and 2D sketches but you’ll still get the idea of what scene they’re going for. Unfortunately, none of the scenes add anything new to the original cut.

“How to Voice Your Viking” is a short but sweet behind-the-scenes look at the various actors voicing their respective characters. “How I Learned From Dragons,” “Evolving Character Design of Dragons,” and “Growing Up With Dragons” are just some of the companion pieces to “How to Voice.” It’s a nice retrospective from the cast members on their time with the franchise.

“Creating an Epic Dragon Tale” is a nice behind-the-scenes featurette that slightly goes in-depth on the making of the film. But before you know it, the featurette is done. “Brave Wilderness” is an informative and awesome featurette about animals’ influence on the dragons.

“The Dragon Sheep Chronicles” is a hilarious mini animated short revolved around the Berkian sheep. “Deck of Dragons” is a useful featurette if you want to learn more about a few of the dragon types. “Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds” is exactly as it sounds. If you need a refresher on the story then you might want to watch this first. Finally, “New Berk” briefly fills in the gap between the dragons leaving and Hiccup and Toothless’ reunion.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms

Overall, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a slightly disappointing conclusion to the trilogy. The video and audio are superb and the special features are robust.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Facebook Comments