Australian Council on Children and the Media

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

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Not recommended under 8; Parental guidance to 10 (Violence and scary scenes).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  • a review of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 January 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children 8 to 10 Parental guidance recommended.
Children over the age of 10 Suitable for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy themes and violence.
Length 104 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This is the third in the series of How to Train Your Dragon movies based on the books by Cressida Crowell. Hiccup (voice of Jay Baruchel) is now the chief of the Viking tribe of Berk, where he has created a peaceful haven for dragons. He discovers, however, that an evil villain named Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) is capturing dragons with the aim of killing them all. Along with several of his men and women, including Astrid (America Ferrera), Hiccup attacks the fortress where the dragons have been imprisoned to set them free.

Grimmel has a secret weapon however, in the form a beautiful white night fury, (the light fury) which he plans to use to lure Toothless away. Grimmel believes that if he captures the alpha dragon then all the others will follow. Many battles ensue, and Hiccup decides that the only way for the dragons to survive is to find the mythical land of the hidden world, which his father had told him about. Hiccup leads his tribe on the search for this mysterious place with mixed feelings. Toothless must decide whether to follow his heart or his loyal companion.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Dragons; vikings; fantasy; warfare.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a lot of animated violence throughout this movie including:

  • Many battle scenes where Vikings fight with Grimmel’s men using swords, axes and maces.
  • The Vikings enjoy fighting each other for fun and during feasts they throw objects at each other.
  • Guards are seen mistreating the caged dragons – whipping them etc.
  • Grimmel uses a crossbow, which he fires at dragons on several occasions, killing them in the process. He shoots a sleeping man with it one time, but only sedates him.
  • Light Fury at first charms Toothless but then she suddenly looks evil and burns a nearby tree.
  • Light Fury takes Hiccup from Toothless’s back and drops him into the ocean.
  • Grimmel shoots at both Light Fury and Toothless with his crossbow. He captures them both.
  • Ships are set alight and are seen to break apart.
  • Grimmel chases after Hiccup who gives up his own life to save Toothless and Light Fury and seems to fall to his death. (He’s saved in time).

 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are many scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The dragons are very fierce looking with long claws and teeth, horns and spiked heads. They breathe fire and other substances, which set buildings on fire and cause much destruction.
  • The Vikings are also fierce looking and enjoy fighting.
  • Scenes of ships battling in foggy seas are quite scary.
  • Grimmel is a scary looking large man.

 

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The dragons are shown in cages tied up with iron straps around their bodies and faces.
  • Grimmel and one of his large dragons break into Hiccup’s house through the roof, while Hiccup is inside. They burn the house down, but the people manage to escape.
  • Grimmel’s dragons are very large and fierce – they breathe green fire.
  • Valka (Hiccup’s mother) is chased on her dragon by the larger fierce dragons.
  • Toothless lights up his whole body.
  • Hiccup removes his prosthetic leg and must hop around.
  • Hiccup remembers when he was a child that he had lost his mother. He asks his dad if he’s going to get another one.
  • Toothless and Light Fury are seen trussed up and imprisoned by iron chains.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing of concern for this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Nothing of concern for this age group.

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Astrid and Hiccup flirt and kiss briefly a couple of times.
  • Ruffnut (a female Viking) says she’s so ‘hot’ and all the boys love her.
  • Toothless watches a couple of dragons doing a ritual-mating dance.
  • Toohtless and Light Fury ‘fall in love’ and they both perform ritual-mating dances to each other. They rub necks and lick each other.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None of concern.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • The Vikings drink jugs of ale when they’re feasting.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Ye Gods
  • Bad ass
  • Butt
  • God almighty
  • Screw up

In a nutshell

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is an animated adventure story in which the hero, Hiccup, must lead his tribe and dragons to safety to protect them from an evil villain whose aim is to destroy all dragons. It has a predictable ending and a weak storyline but will appeal to older children and teens. There is more violence in this movie than the original How to Train Your Dragon movie and therefore is not recommended to children under 8.

The main messages from this movie are to respect all creatures on the Earth and not to destroy that which we fear but to try to understand and conquer our fears.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Courage
  • Heroism
  • Self-belief
  • Selflessness
  • Strong female characters such as Astrid, Valka and Ruffnut, who all help fight to protect their tribe and dragons.
  • Finding alternative solutions to war.

 

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