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*Editor’s Note: In honor of The 28th Annual Movieguide® Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, we’re highlighting nominees for the upcoming ceremony. The Gala will be broadcast at a later date on the Hallmark Channel.

Below is a portion of the review from THE CHOSEN: EPISODE 8:  I Am He, which is nominated for the BEST MOVIES FOR FAMILIES.

For the full review, click here.


In this epic conclusion to the exciting animated trilogy of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON films, Hiccup is now the chief of Berk, where Vikings and dragons live together peacefully. The arrival of a villainous dragon-hunter, Grimmel, sends Hiccup and his girlfriend, Astrid, on a quest to find a fabled hidden world of dragons, which may provide safe harbor for them all. They discover a female “Light Fury” dragon that corresponds to Hiccup’s Night Fury dragon, Toothless, who tries to court the new dragon. Eventually, Hiccup faces his hardest test yet in his determination to protect his people and the dragons.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD is a great example of how to make a family movie that appeals to children and adults. The movie’s animated fantasy world of Vikings and dragons is stunning and detailed, the action scenes are exhilarating, the story is moving, and the characters have gone on a real journey since the original movie in 2010. That said, the new movie works just as well as a standalone story for those who haven’t seen the previous two movies.

The story has wonderful Christian elements. A key theme is that Hiccup can only mature and become the leader he needs to be by demonstrating sacrificial love. In a flashback, Hiccup’s father instructs him in words that sound biblical: “With love comes loss, but in the end it is worth it. There is no greater gift than love.” Hiccup is supported and encouraged by two remarkable women, his mother, Valka, and his girlfriend, Astrid. These two characters are very well done, exhibiting biblical feminine qualities of strength, wisdom and dignity. (A comical subplot is the courtship of the widowed Valka by two suitors.) Though one of the trilogy’s comic characters was supposedly “outed” as homosexual in the last movie due to an oblique, unscripted line of dialogue, no reference is made to this in THE HIDDEN WORLD. Ultimately, the third movie’s conclusion gives moviegoers a beautiful vision of a traditional family. That vision will have far more impact on viewers.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD does have some action violence and suspense, but the filmmakers have taken the scariness down a notch from the last movie. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD also has some light pagan and environmentalist elements, plus some light crass humor, that are common to this movie trilogy. For example, Norse gods are mentioned, and an old woman uses a staff with an animal carving on it to bless a couple’s marriage.

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