The final installment in the “How to Train Your Dragon” series, “The Hidden World,” is a sweet, fun and beautifully presented animated film.
In the world of Vikings led by young Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), who train and nurture dragons, a team is dispatched to free captured dragons.
“I thought this was supposed to be a stealth mission,” he tells his partner and best friend, Astrid (America Ferrera).
“They always do,” she replies.
They manage to save the dragons but Hiccup is warned by his mentor, “One day you’ll pick a battle that you can’t win.”
“The more dinosaurs we bring back, the bigger a target we become,” Astrid says.
The evil Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) is on a mission to kill all of the dragons. “That idiot boy has done our job of gathering all of the dragons into one place for us,” he tells his crew.
“You want dragons to live among us as equals,” he tells Hiccup. “A toxic notion. If word got out, it would be the end of civilization as we know it.”
Hiccup, who has a prosthetic leg, and who fights with a flaming sword (shades of Luke Skywalker) goes through his late father’s notes. As a child, the father told his son stories about a hidden world, tucked beyond the edge of the world — a utopia, a place where both people and dragons could live hidden and safe.
He leads his Viking community out of the town of Berk, where they have lived for seven generations, in search of a new haven. “Berk is our home,” he tells his people. Berk is also wherever we are.”
“Is there a plan?” Astrid asks.
“Just keep flying until you reach the end of the world.”
Moving on the backs of flying dragons, including the once wild night fury dragon that Hiccup tamed and named Toothless, they are pursued by Grimmel and his army of wild dragons who he has drugged into compliance. Hiccup and his team are lured into a trap. “First rule of hunting: Separate the prey from its pack.”
They deftly escape and prepare for the fight of their lives.
“He thinks he has to battle alone because his father had to,” the matriarchal Valka (Cate Blanchett) tells Astrid. “He doesn’t have to.”
In a flashback, his father tells Hiccup, “With loves come loss. That’s part of the deal. But in the end, it’s worth it. There’s no greater gift than love.”
The great cast also includes Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harrington, Craig Ferguson and Jonah Hill.
Based on the series of books by Cressida Cowell, the story will appeal to both children and adults.