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film review

Night Fury dragon Toothless and Hiccup in How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.© 2019 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved./DreamWorks Animation

  • Written by: Dean DeBlois
  • Directed by: Dean DeBlois
  • Starring: Jay Baruchel, F. Murray Abraham and Cate Blanchett
  • Classification: PG/104 minutes


3 out of 4 stars

If it wasn’t clear in the first two instalments of the DreamWorks animated fantasy series How to Train Your Dragon, it is by the third (and final) chapter: People are the ones who require training, not the dragons.

In the epic Viking world of writer-director Dean DeBlois, the fire-breathing beasts are not monsters but wild, magical and beautiful creatures to either be tamed for co-habitation or hunted nefariously. In How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (which works just fine as a standalone film), we have a villain upsetting the bustling (if chaotic) utopia ruled by a boy king learning on the job. The latter is Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel). He rides an alpha “night fury” dragon smitten by a virginal-white female fire-breather dubbed a “light fury.” The dragon courtship is cute but tedious.

The bad guy is Grimmel, a crossbow-wielding dragon hunter given a vampiric European accent by F. Murray Abraham. A satisfying adventure story with allegorical manifest-destiny allusions, The Hidden World reminds us that if butterflies were the size of horses, humans would surely ride them. And wouldn’t that be an awful thing? ​

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World opens Feb. 22