Berk Under Hiccup - How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
On the island nation of Berk, its young leader has made the island a sanctuary for the dragons they once considered their adversaries. This new relationship, however, comes under threat in How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. While Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his fellow dragon riders save many from captivity, those who lose their dragons seek their return. They join forces with Grimmel the Grisly (F. Murray Abraham), though Grimmel has an ulterior motive. A noted dragon slayer, Grimmel sets his sights on slaying Toothless, Hiccup's loyal dragon, and the last night fury known to his hunter. He confronts Hiccup in an outright effort to slay the creature, but that proves to be unsuccessful. Grimmel then tries to lure Toothless in various ways, which include sending a female dragon after Toothless. Astrid (America Ferrara) notes its resemblance to Toothless, and dubs it a light fury.
The efforts to attract Toothless are successful, but Hiccup recognizes that as yet another trap. As the efforts to eradicate Toothless continue, Hiccup realizes that Berk is no longer safe for man or dragon. He relocates everyone to a more remote island. He also relies on the counsel of his mother Valka (Cate Blanchett), Eret (Kit Harington), a former hunter turned ally, and Gobber the Belch (Craig Ferguson), the closest friend of his father, Stoick (Gerard Butler). Hiccup also recalls that his late father told him about a land inhabited entirely by dragons that several expeditions that he could not locate. Hiccup looks through the old expedition maps and discovers a place where Stoick had not gone. Grimmel, however, knows of the move Hiccup has made, and knows he has few options when it comes to saving the creatures he has come to love.
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a satisfactory third entry in a trilogy base on the works of Cressida Cowell. Hiccup has put his authority in motion, but finds that the rest of the world he knows won't stand for his decidedly humane treatment of the dragons. The dragon hunter angle is interesting, but writer-director Dean Deblois, who has had a hand in both departments for all three films, works solo here. He could have used a hand here, as this entry is a step down from the first two films. I like Abraham, but Grimmel is not as menacing as he should be. He sets all sorts of plans in motion, but I would think he'd be more aggressive as he sees a dubious goal within reach. The movie also neglects a truth about dragons. If a dragon senses a threat to its life, it should be able to incinerate any person intent on capturing or killing them. I suppose depicting that in this series would seem a bit drastic, but other parts of the story make sense and bring closure to the series.
Baruchel is once again solid as Hiccup, a leader who is much more inventive than physical. He created the apparatus that allows Tootlhless to fly effectively, and he uses his smarts to know that Toothless needs more than just a human to care about him. The light fury may have come as a lure, but her nature proves she has more of a connection to Toothless than to Grimmel. Ferrara is just as good as Astrid, a young warrior who grows closer to Hiccup. She knows she'd been expected to marry Hiccup, but that doesn't mean she's not her own person. She's there fighting on Hiccup's side as Grimmel and his forces make their final stand, and has always admired Hiccup's approach to dragons. Abraham is fine, but underutilized as Grimmel, who is never shown to be as grisly as his name. In addition to those already mentioned, other cast members who return are Hiccup's dragon riding peers: Snotlout (Jonah Hill), Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), and Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig).
The How To Train Your Dragon trilogy has been a series of enjoyable films. It shows the evolution of Hiccup from a boy not expected to one day assume the mantle of leadership to a leader taking Berk in a new direction. He has proven that the bond between man and dragon doesn't need to be adversarial. He has become close to Toothless, as both faced physical impediments and learned to overcome them. After all of his years with such a unique companion, he learns that, sometimes, a man must be a man, and a dragon must be a dragon.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World three stars. Another challenge in a world filled with dragons.
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World trailer
© 2019 Pat Mills