One Final Flight With A Fury
How To Train Your Dragon has been a series of film that’s only gotten better with age. When it first released back in 2010, the film had a decent critical reception and fans really took to the adventures of Hiccup and Toothless. When the sequel arrived 4 years later, many doubted it would be able to hit the bar the first film achieved. With more dragons, a bigger plot and a far more expansive reach, the second film managed to match the first almost blow for blow. With 2 solid films under its belt, the attention turned to the finale of this unconventional trilogy of films, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
This final film is a fitting send off for our characters as they go up against the biggest threat they’ve ever faced. With the characters more weary and a resilient Hiccup leading the pack, what follows is an enjoyable film that doesn’t quite match the precedent set by the first two. Still, there’s enough character development, humour and dragon shenanigans here to keep kids and adults entertained as we say goodbye to our characters as they embark on one final mission.
This time around the threat comes in the form of Night Fury hunter Grimmel. This dragon-hunting warlord gets word of Toothless’ existence after Hiccup and the group intercept a boatload of dragons heading for his island. Driven by a thrill for the hunt, what follows is a journey that sees Grimmel hunting down Toothless while completing his mission of killing all the dragons once and for all. A plan that’s unfortunately been made all the simpler by Hiccup rounding up the dragons at the village. Understanding the threat facing them, Hiccup packs up in search of the fabled Hidden World, unbeknownst to him that Toothless has problems of his own in the form of a new female Night Fury simply referred to as Lightfury.
Much like the previous films, there’s a good amount of time dedicated to showing the various dragons in their environment and getting up to no good. The establishing shots of this beautiful world are as breathtaking and awe-inspiring as they were the first couple of times around in this series. From illuminated caves under a raging waterfall to the rolling hills and stiff peaks in a cluster of islands, Dreamworks have really outdone themselves here with the aesthetic. The character models look great too and the more mature, grizzled versions of Hiccup and some of the other characters we’ve come to love over the years is a really nice touch too.
While it’s great to see the dragons and all the characters from before return, the final film does feel a little underwhelming compared to the first two. It’s still enjoyable and there’s enough here to make it worth a watch but it’s also not quite at the same standard. To be fair, the first two films did set a pretty high bar to reach. Thankfully, Grimmel does cut a pretty dangerous figure for the group to contend with and this is enough to keep things interesting.
Still, it’s the ending that’s likely to be the thing most people remember this film for. The bittersweet moments between human and dragon are really touching and more than a little heartbreaking. It’s certainly a fitting end though and hats off to the filmmakers for finishing a series in its prime and not dragging success out with a flurry of feature films. The final scenes leave little doubt that this is the end and while it’s not quite the breathtaking finale some may be expecting, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and well written ride nonetheless.