In the same year that Dreamworks seemingly wrapped up their big money spinner of the time in “Shrek”, even they couldn’t have predicted that the original “How to Train Your Dragon”, released the same year, would take its place financially and critically. Each of the “Dragon” films has been as warmly received as the last, and this film, the third and seemingly the last in the series, is no different.
The action starts with Hiccup and his misfit crew on a mission to liberate dragons from trappers and bring them to safety in their hometown of Berk. The only problem is that Hiccup, the village chief, is almost too good at his job which means that Berk is home to too many dragons so the villagers and their chief have to decide whether or not to stay put, or attempt to move on to pastures new. In addition to this, a new dragon hunter has his sights set on Hiccup’s dragon Toothless, and will seemingly stop at nothing to track him down.
“The Hidden World” does an excellent job of balancing the adventures of the human characters with the journey of exploration that Toothless goes on. There are some Pixar like scenes between Toothless and a new dragon that are completely dialogue free, but the expressions and actions of the two dragons tell the whole story. This is all helped by the expressive animation and the characterisation of Toothless who displays characteristics of both dogs and cats, which makes him very relatable to animal lovers across the board.
The voice acting from the aforementioned human characters is great across the board, from Jay Baruchel as Hiccup, through to all the returning cast from Cate Blanchett to America Ferrera and Jonah Hill among others. F Murray Abraham brings his unique tones to new villain Grimmel and gives the character a very real sense of menace.
From a technical standpoint, the film is pretty flawless. The animation is nothing short of spectacular especially in the scenes where we see hundreds of dragons in flight, each one different to the last with their own unique look. The scenery is beautifully rendered and the action scenes look amazing and are very easy to follow. You would assume that would be a given, but it’s not always the case in films of this type. John Powell delivers a career best performance in the music department, which is no mean feat considering his C.V boasts work that ranges from the “Bourne” films, through to last year’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story”.
Overall, this makes for a very fitting conclusion to the trilogy which, interestingly, has seen its characters age in almost real time. Unusually for a trilogy, each film stands up to the last and there was no real decrease in quality in the nine years since the first film was released. Highly recommended for all the family.
These are the learned and gifted words of our Kevin Dillon, @kevinwritestuff.
Made with Milk Bottle