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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD gets 6.5/10 The fast and the fury-ious


Director Dean DeBois

Starring Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Kit Harington, Cate Blanchett, F. Murray Abraham

6.5/10

After eight years the critically and publicly acclaimed How To Train Your Dragon film series concludes with the third and final installment of this epic tale about a magical world of Vikings and dragons loosely based on Crissida Cowell’s children’s book series of the same name. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless (Kit Harington) face the challenges of coming into adulthood, and saving everything they have come to treasure that is threatened by the mandatory villain of the hour.

Now chief and ruler of Berk, Hiccup and his girlfriend/2IC Astrid (America Ferrera) have created a gloriously chaotic dragon utopia. When the sudden appearance of a female Light Fury (a rare white dragon similar to the Night Fury Toothless) coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup and Toothless must leave the only home they’ve known and journey to a hidden world thought only to exist in myth.

Returning director Dean DeBois maintains a high standard of animation with a beautifully realised world and enchanting dragons audiences have come to expect. Fans will be happy to see the reappearance of the rag-tag dragon rider clan with strong performances from the stellar voice cast, Ruffnut Thorston (Kristen Wiig) particularly stealing the show.

However it feels like the series is suffering from common trilogy-itis with a gradual decline in the storytelling, the first film being the strongest and third the weakest. Unfortunately the villain is not really fleshed out and feels like a stereotypical one dimensional cartoon antagonist. The plot line about a threat to the village and the need to move feels weak and doesn’t evoke a genuine sense of danger.

The love story with the gorgeously rendered Light Fury and Toothless is very engaging with a cute and awkward courting ritual that brings a smile. The Light Fury is captured by the villain to use as a honey-trap for Toothless. This idea is not fully explored and feels like a thought the writers dumped in to find a way to bring in the love interest.

General family audiences will find How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World a fairly entertaining piece to keep the kiddies distracted for a few hours during the summer holidays, but as the end of this much loved cinema series it goes out with a puff of smoke rather than scorching dragon flame.

ANNE PAVY

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