Why 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' Is a Movie That Parents & Kids Must Watch Together

Universal Entertainment

Toothless Hiccup How to Train Your Dragon
Universal Entertainment

As parents, we'll do just about anything to make our kids happy, including sitting down and watching animated films with them -- even if we'd honestly rather be watching a movie with something other than a G or PG rating. But once in a while a "children's" film comes along that is not only something both parents and kids can equally enjoy watching because of the entertainment value, but is also a story that comes with powerful messages that people of all ages can learn from and take to heart. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, which is the third installment in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, is most definitely one of these rare flicks.

  • I was lucky enough to be part of Universal's 'How To Train Your Dragon' Norway adventure, and the experience really helped drive home the film's messages.

    Being immersed in the environment that helped inspire the scenes in the movie really gave me such a deeper appreciation for the research, planning, passion, and love that went into bringing the amazing friendship between the film's key characters, Hiccup and Toothless, to life on screen. 

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  • When it comes to life lessons that the film teaches, the power of friendship and love are really at the heart of it.

    Universal Entertainment

    In the day and age we're living in, perhaps there's no greater lesson people need to learn than to be kind to each other, and to protect our loved ones at all costs and do whatever it takes to keep them safe.

    In the film, Hiccup knows that the only way Toothless and the other dragons are going to survive and have a continued existence is if they are protected and hidden from the evil people who want to capture them. He puts his life on the line to ensure their safety, much like any parents would do for their child -- which makes the film so relatable for moms and dads. It's hard not to feel a "don't mess with mama (or papa) bear" vibe while watching this movie! 

    And in turn, kids (or at least older kids), may gain a new appreciation for just how deeply their parents love them, and the lengths we would go to in order to make sure they are happy, healthy, and safe from all of this world's uncertainties.

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World also reminds us to fight for things we believe in.

    Hiccup How to Train Your Dragon
    Universal Entertainment

    In the film, Hiccup knows all too well that there is just no way that dragons and humans can peacefully coexist, and the continuation of their species is something he refuses to let go of. As a result, fights for them even when the battle seems too great.

    Most of us have a few, if not many, aspects of life that we are passionate about, and we aren't afraid to shout those passions from the rooftops. But how many of us are willing to take action? How many of us are honestly willing to fight for what we believe in, even if there are countless obstacles and challenges that stand in our way? Food for thought, people. I know I'm guilty of not putting actions behind my words, as we all are in certain instances. 

    By watching this movie with our kids, we can not only use it as a means of teaching them to stand up for what they believe in, but also as a strong reminder that we lead by example, so we have to do the same if we want them to grow into adults who truly want to make a difference.

  • But in order for them to grow and fly, we have to let kids have wings.

    Hiccup Toothless How to Train Your Dragon
    Universal Entertainment

    Ahhhh, yes. The one major message that is geared to parents in this film is that as much as we want to, we can't hang onto our children forever if we want them to be independent and flourish on their own as adults. They need to be allowed to find their own lives. As difficult as it was for Hiccup to say goodbye to Toothless, he knew that the only way to truly let him live was to release him. And based on the heartwarming ending of the film (no spoilers!), we know that Toothless's journey only got even better once he was allowed to find his true destiny.

  • And there's one more lesson in letting go in this movie ...

    Universal Entertainment

    It teaches both parents and kids to let go of the need to be in control. This can be such a tough lesson to learn, as it's in our nature to want to try to control everything in our environment. But How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World reminds us that if we're willing to let go of control and let life happen the way it's supposed to, somehow we wind up where we're supposed to be ... when we're supposed to be there and with who we're supposed to be with. You just have to trust the universe to figure it all out -- which it always does.

  • I had the pleasure of speaking about the film with director Dean DeBlois and Hiccup actor Jay Baruchel.

    As you can see, they both echoed my sentiments about the significant and invaluable messages this amazing movie sends to everyone who watches it.

  • On a lighter, more humorous note, Hiccup was always there for Toothless -- and even tried to help him form a love connection.

    This movie really has a way at tugging at all of our heartstrings, and it offers such a great mix of emotional and funny moments. You'll laugh. You'll cry. And then you'll laugh and cry some more. 

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is out on digital and Blue-ray as of May 21.

    Universal Entertainment

    Do yourself a favor and carve out some time from your busy schedule to sit down as a family and watch this incredible movie with your kids. They'll be delighted and you'll feel inspired -- but you're gonna want to go ahead and have a box of tissues ready before popping in the DVD. (Don't say I didn't warn you.)

    *Disclosure -- I attended the trip to Norway on behalf of CafeMom as a guest of Universal Entertainment, and my travel, meals, tours, and accommodations were provided by them. However, all opinions and thoughts expressed in this article are my own, and were not influenced by Universal or anyone involved with the making of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.