With the How to Train Your Dragon movies, the talented folk at DreamWorks Animation have proven themselves capable of rivalling even the mighty Pixar. Now The Hidden World is here to bring the trilogy to a close, and though it doesn’t quite reach Toy Story 3 levels of perfection, it’s certainly not for lack of trying.
Much like Andy in Toy Story, it’s striking to see how Viking chief Hiccup has grown from an awkward teen into a confident leader. But this time it’s Toothless the Night Fury who takes centre stage, as the arrival of a potential mate – an opalescent Light Fury – pulls him between his adoptive family and his own kind. The courtship between the two dragons is when the film really soars, in a series of wordless sequences as beautiful as the opening act of WALL-E.
In fact, if the film has a failing it’s that the human drama doesn’t quite live up to Toothless’ romance. Hiccup and his fellow Vikings aren’t given as much room to breathe, and while F. Murray Abraham gives a brilliantly sinister performance as a dragon hunter, he’s not much different from the last film’s villain.
Still, even if the dramatic beats don’t always land, the stunning visuals never fail to amaze. The land of Berk has always been brimming with creativity, and this time the dragons are more vibrant and varied than ever. The great Roger Deakins returns as a visual consultant, and every scene is shot in a syrupy golden glow rarely seen in animated movies.
In this day and age it seems that no franchise stays gone forever; even now, there may be somebody trying to get How to Train Your Dragon 4 greenlit. Still, if The Hidden World is truly the end of Toothless and Hiccup’s story, then it’s the best ending we could’ve hoped for.
CAST: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrara, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Kit Harington
DIRECTOR: Dean DeBlois
WRITERS: Dean DeBlois (screenplay), Cressida Cowell (based on the books by)
SYNOPSIS: When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret dragon Utopia, before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.