The tale of Toothless the freaking adorable animated dragon comes to a close—maybe—with How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third chapter in what producers are calling a trilogy.
Yeah, that’s the same thing they said about Toy Story 3 before greenlighting Toy Story 4. If the story continues beyond this chapter, you won’t get any complaints from me; I think the dragon beat could entertainingly go on with this franchise.
Hiccup (the voice Jay Baruchel), now the chief of his Viking tribe, and his dragon buddy, Toothless, happen upon another Night Fury dragon—this one a female, and Toothless is justifiably smitten. After a first date that involves some hilarious show-off dancing, the two hit it off, and Hiccup finds himself possibly staring down a future without Toothless.
Before Toothless and his new gal pal can head off for wedded bliss in the mystical Hidden World, where dragons live happily, they must contend with the evil Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), who wants to steal all of Toothless’ beautiful music ideas and pass them off as his own.
Oh, excuse me, that would be Abraham’s Amadeus character. No, his character in this one wants to kill all of the dragons, of course.
The movie clocks in at 104 minutes, but it feels more like 60. Director Dean DeBlois, who directed all three films, deserves credit for making the proceedings breezy and never boring. His only other directing credits are the equally enjoyable Lilo and Stitch, and a Sigur Rós documentary. Thankfully, the great Jónsi of Sigur Rós provides another terrific song for the soundtrack.
While these films have all been visually enchanting, this third chapter definitely tops itself. Scenes where the in-love Toothless and Light Fury soar into the skies and fly together are breathtaking achievements. Also, I have to point out again that the Dragon movies do a fabulous job with human hair. There can be all sorts of amazing things going on, but I sometimes find myself just admiring how Hiccup’s hair waves in the wind. So lustrous and lifelike!
The film also packs a nice emotional wallop. Toothless is like a nice combination of E.T. and your favorite dog, so he’s truly lovable. Seeing him get a nice ending (the details of which I won’t give away) might leave you crying a lot more than you thought you would at an animated movie. This one has an animated tearjerker factor that puts it alongside the likes of Toy Story 3 and Up. Speaking of E.T.: I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the Toothless sounds owe plenty to the little Spielberg alien. He croaks and purrs just like E.T. He doesn’t touch things and make them better, though; he just kind of spits on things.
Most of the voice cast members from the previous two films return, including Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, America Ferrera and Gerard Butler. Not surprisingly, T.J. Miller doesn’t return as Tuffnut. Like Louis C.K. on The Secret Life of Pets sequel, he got his ass booted from an animated movie for bad behavior.
If this is indeed the end for Toothless and Hiccup, it’s a satisfactory conclusion. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World will keep you and your family entertained. I heard a bunch of folks yelling stuff like, “That movie made me cry!” when the credits were playing. Be prepared: You might wind up crying in front of a bunch of kids.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is playing at theaters across the valley.