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