As chief of Berk, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless spend their days freeing dragons from trappers. Hiccup and his friends have rescued so many dragons that their village is slowing being overrun by them. Not only are the residents of Berk running out of room, the sheer number of dragons is making them a target for trappers who want to capture the dragons.
A band of trappers have recruited a particularly ruthless dragon hunter named Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham). Grimmel has become known as the Night Fury Killer, having killed every living Night Fury. Every Night Fury, that is, except Toothless. When Grimmel learns there is a Night Fury among Hiccup’s dragons, he immediately begins his search. He uses a Light Fury, a white, female version of the Night Fury, as bait for Toothless.
After encountering Grimmel, who demands Toothless be turned over to him, Hiccup makes the difficult choice to lead his people and the dragons from Berk in search of a new, safer home. His father told him tales as a child of a hidden world where all the dragons came from. Hiccup decides this would be the ideal place for the Berkians to live. With the support of Astrid (America Ferrera), he convinces everyone to join his quest for the hidden world.
Faced with a long journey, restless villages, and a distracted Toothless, who has been courting the Light Fury, Hiccup lets the Berkians settle on a remote island while he and Astrid continue the search for their ultimate destination. However, Grimmel, who loves the hunt, and his swarm of trappers, are plotting an attack that will rid the world of dragons once and for all.
The third and final installment in the How to Train Your Dragon series, The Hidden World provides a fitting end to the series.
All of your favorite characters are back, as you would expect for the finale. Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill as Snotlout, Kristen Wiig and Justin Rupple as Ruffnut and Tuffnut, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs, are joined again by Cate Blanchett as Hiccup’s mom Valka and Gerard Butler as Hiccup’s dad Stoick. The Berkians are facing their toughest opponent yet, played by F. Murray Abraham. Each plays up their character’s personality, quirks and all. As with the other movies, it is a pretty solid cast.
The story not only builds upon the action of its predecessors, but the battles get more epic and the characters get the chance to grow. The humor is on par with what we have come to know and love from the series without getting to over the top, which makes for a highly entertaining film. Visually, again, it is just as thrilling as the previous films, taking us to undiscovered parts of the world Hiccup has only dreamed of exploring. The lone misstep is the “love story” between Toothless and the new Light Fury. It feels almost as if they couldn’t quite decide how they wanted the courting scenes to play out. These scenes drag on a little long, throwing off the pacing, and the story line doesn’t really play out the way it was originally set up. A minor hiccup, pun intended, in an otherwise good film.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World wraps up the epic story of Hiccup and his unlikely best friend. It is engaging enough on many levels to keep younger audiences and their parents entertained. While it will be sad to say goodbye to these characters, I’m glad they are going out on a high note. It is definitely a great choice for a family movie night for fans of the series.