How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Review

After two animated features together since 2010 and 2014, the journey between Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and Toothless has finally come to an end in How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

In this third and final instalment of DreamWorks Animation’s lucrative franchise, Hiccup is now the chief of Berk, who has since turned his Viking village into a dragon utopia. When dragon hunter Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) threatens to hunt down Night Fury a.k.a. Toothless and every dragon that has been rescued so far, Hiccup alongside his lover Astrid (America Ferrera) and mother Valka (Cate Blanchett) set out on a journey to move his entire population to the mythical Hidden World. But Toothless himself got distracted by the arrival of a white female dragon known as Light Fury — a result that made the journey all the more difficult than it already is.

First things first, the animation is top-notch. Watching this on an IMAX screen is certainly a sight to behold, thanks to Gil Zimmerman’s often-majestic cinematography and Pierre-Olivier Vincent’s lavish production design. There are few highlights that worth mentioning here, which include the elaborate flirting moment where Toothless trying to win over the Light Fury as well as the spectacular neon-coloured Hidden World inhabited by dragon species. And likewise, the action is just as fluid and exhilarating.

The recurring voice cast, particularly Jay Baruchel’s Hiccup and America Ferrera’s Astrid each deliver great performances all around. The introduction of Light Fury is no doubt a welcome addition to the franchise, while the bonding between Hiccup and Toothless displays some of the movie’s affectionate moments.

However, given the fact this is the final instalment of How To Train Your Dragon franchise, it’s kind of a pity that writer-director Dean DeBlois chose the conventional way to tell his story. I understand that the main target audiences are kids and family, but is it too much to ask for a more emotionally-penetrating finale? How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World certainly deserves more than merely relegated to strictly by-the-numbers storytelling approach.

Then, there’s the main antagonist of Grimmel. He is supposed to be a fearsome dragon hunter and despite F. Murray Abraham’s sinister voice, his character is hardly intimidating. Instead, he’s more like your average villain manufactured from the assembly line.

Although How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is far from a grand finale it wanted to be, it remains decent enough for the final instalment of an animated franchise.

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