A fitting end to the much-loved series deliciously visual spectacular with an emotional arc of dog like proportions.
After nine years of Dean DeBlois’s dalliance with the world of animated Human and Dragon relationships, we’ve landed at the end of this heart-warming journey. Its final flight is a deliciously visual spectacular but lacks the human connection that made it endearing.
Under the leadership of the young bearded Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) with the ever loyal and fierce Astrid (America Ferrera) by his side, Berk has become a safe haven for rescued Dragons, so much so you can hardly swing a cat. Bursting at the seams, the Kingdom is beginning to buckle under the strain of overpopulation. But only a fire breath away lays a new threat for the Dragon inhabitants of Berk in the form of the slick, svelt Dragonslayer, Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham).
Hired by a rival Viking tribe, Grimmel the evil genius hatches his plan to lure away the only Night Fury that has ever evaded his clutches and Hiccups best friend, Toothless with the introduction of a Female Light Fury to turn the dog like Toothless’ head and heart. Outmanoeuvred Hiccup is forced to admit he is outclassed and vows to relocate all the inhabitants of Berk to The Hidden World.
The furore is nothing but a one-dimensional story, a coming of age tale with a plot so thin it’s transparent. A cat and mouse chase across the skies takes up the bulk of the plot losing its grip on the relationships built in the previous two movies.
Now that the series has come to fruition, so have its characters from human to dragon alike. Making up for that loss in a chewy storyline comes the light-hearted moments when Toothless comes into his own. Reaching his own maturity, he longs for a female companion for himself, when the Light Fury shows herself he falls head over heels leading him to clumsily try to impress his possible new mate. This time around it’s the dragon relationships that burst with warming charm, that is until, DeBlois rounds out his finale with one of the most touching moments between men and his best friend, tugging fiercely on those tear ducts.
Visually, you can’t fault the beauty in this animation, none more so than it’s descent into the luminous vision of its Hidden World, gliding through the neon vines of wondrous creativity at a swash-buckling pace.
It’s a fitting end to the much-loved series, as its original audience comes of age, it focuses on the evolution of its characters and who they want to be and what they want to achieve. Despite its flaying plot, we defy you not to feel that emotional burn.
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World hits cinemas February 1st.