How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (***1/2) Diminishing Returns

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – 2019

Written and Directed by Dean DeBois
Starring (Voices) Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, F. Murray Abraham

In the third and final animation triumph of DeBois, and company, one feels the gift for the eyes quickly becoming torture for the ears. At a certain point, one should be able to do more than sit back, enjoy the astounding visuals, and try to ignore most of the characters.

The third part to the series ends a cohesive journey for Hiccup (Baruchel) and Toothless. They have steadily progressed into leaders of men and dragons. The result is nice in an abstract way. The bad guy is one who specializes in killing Fury dragons (Abraham) brings the entire clan to a heel for those who hire him. The closest think one can compare them to are Stormtrooper Vikings lead by Weasleys from Harry Potter. They are there to be flummoxed by Hiccup and his merry band of complete idiots. Plus Astrid (Ferrera) and Valka (Blanchett), who are given a pass because they actually act like they understand what’s going on, even if they tolerate the nonsense.

So lacking for characters are they, we even see deceased father Stoick (Butler) in a bunch of scenes giving unneeded but sweet background to baby Hiccup.

Hiccup, for his part, is fine. Seeing him develop enough to see his friend as more than just a friendly pet is a nice touch, even if it’s a tad unnecessary to completely say goodbye.

The real treat to this series, as it always has been is the completely magnificent visuals of the dragons in flight, at play, in courtship, etc. Utilizing Roger Deakins throughout the entire trilogy, DeBois has made something more than a cartoon. He’s made a palate of gorgeous scenery. The world is expanded and made beautiful.

Then there are all of the idiots, getting in the way for voice time. They look as bad as they sound, voiced by the somewhat talented Hill, Mintz-Plasse and Kristen Wiig. Their incessant babbling will have you praying for the end to all of it by the time you get to the first act.

What was okay in the first film, when everyone is younger, just is haltingly tragic by the time of the third, when the biggest progression is that one of them pretends to have a beard.

If I could, I would edit out most of the dialogue spoken by anyone but Hiccup, Astrid, Valka, Stoick and Abraham’s Grimmel the Grisly. It would not change the comprehension of the story one bit and it would definitely allow us to enjoy Toothless and his White Fury more. Anyone who owns cats will like this film for their interactions alone.

(***1/2 out of *****)

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