How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

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The “final” installment in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy came out and does an amazing job of bringing the series of films to a close.  Of course, we have seen that, if something makes money, it does not matter if the film is a perfect ending…Hollywood finds a way (pssst… Toy Story…4?)

However, let’s not think about that.  Let’s think about the fact that this movie is a beautiful and emotional end to the series that started almost a decade ago.  Having just rewatched the first two films last week, I found the third film was a wonderful companion to those movies.

Berk has begun to become overcrowded with the crew, led by newly minted chief Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), having spent the last year rescuing captured dragons from dragon hunters.  Unfortunately, they have come across the dragon hunter who has killed almost all of the night furies, Grimmel the Grisly (F. Murray Abraham) and the existence of Toothless became a quest for Grimmel.

Realizing the real danger his tribe was in, Hiccup chooses to try and lead his people and their dragons into the mythical Hidden World, the birthplace and homeland of dragons.  Along the way, they are shocked when they discover a female fury, they dubbed a light fury, that has stolen Toothless’s heart.

Above all else in the Dragon trilogy, the animation is stunningly beautiful.  The scenes with Toothless and the light fury flying through the clouds are some of the most gorgeous animation you are going to see.  The flying sequences are typical among the most breath taking in the trilogy, and these are no exception.

Most of the humor is on target as well, though I must say that I did not find the antics of the side characters such as Snotlout (Jonah Hill), Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig) and Tuffnut (Justin Rupple, replacing T.J. Miller) funny.  In fact, they were more annoying than humorous.  The voice work is fine, but a lot of this humor just did not hit for me.  Much more interesting was the humor with Craig Ferguson as Gobber.

Astrid (America Ferrera) is one of my favorite supporting characters in the movie.  Hiccup’s mom Valka (Cate Blanchett) and Eret (Kit Harrington) is underused here and I would have liked to see more of them, especially a teased relationship between them.

The story itself felt a little repetitive at times to me, but I was happy to go along.  If I was ranking the three films, this would be my least favorite of the three, but not by much.  The three movies are all very consistent in their excellence.  Once again, How to Train Your Dragon is a series that has a theme about growing up.  Each movie has allowed its characters, in particular Hiccup, a chance to grown not only physically, but emotionally and that is rare amongst animated movies.

The movie moves at a brisk pace and never feels boring.  The story, while not as compelling as the first two, is not lacking too much and does have some seriously poignant moments.  The animation is, once again, epic and the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless is still at the heart of the tale, no matter what other characters become part of their world.

A great final chapter of a trilogy that never failed to entertain.

4.35 stars

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