Soar To The Skies

How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden Kingdom
Stars (voices): Jay Baruchel (Hiccup), America Ferrera (Astrid), F. Murray Abraham (Grimmel), Cate Blanchett (Valka), Gerard Butler (Stoick the Vast), Crag Ferguson (Gobber), Jonah Hill (Snotlout), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fishlegs), Kristen Wiig and Justin Rupple (Ruffnut and Tuffnut) and Kit Harington (Eret)
Director/Scriptwriter: Dean DeBlois and based on the novel “How To Train Your Dragon” by Cressida Cowell
Composer: John Powell
Cinematography: DreamWorks Animation
Universal Pictures
Rating: PG with fantasy action and flying scenes
Running Length: 105 Minutes 

Fans of this beloved movie series have wanted for a third, and last, installment of the story of Vikings living with dragons. Cressida Cowell wrote quite a young adult set of novels and now, the adventures of Toothless, the Black Fury Dragon and Hiccup, his owner and rider, continue.  Methinks, this will not be the last installment, as “Dragon” has been with us for several years and it is difficult to let go of a beloved story. As with “Star Wars,” if you have a good tale, go with it. Time will tell.  In the meantime, enjoy the continuing story, unusual characters with names that fit them, and a time when dragons existed. Dean DeBlois is again the director and scriptwriter. Composer John Powell is at the music helm again, and takes the audience along with the dragons as they fly and fly.  Be aware of these flying sequences that literally take your breath away. 

The story starts about a year after the end of film 2, and Hiccup (voice of Jay Baruchel) and Toothless are busy rescuing dragons and taking them back to the village of Berk, where they find refuge.  It seems as though everyone now has a pet dragon, and with baby dragons, there appears to be an overflow of flying objects. Hiccup, now a leader, wants to find the “Hidden World” where dragons can be safe and have their own place. Enter the feared dragon hunter, Grimmel (voice of F. Murray Abraham) who is out to trap Toothless.  Now, this black dragon finds a girl white dragon and goes tail over snout in love with her.  In the meantime, the nefarious Grimmel is up to no good and wants to capture the pair for his own purposes. Enter Hiccup and his friends, including girlfriend Astrid (voice of America Ferrera), Snotlout (voice of Jonah Hill,) Fishlegs (voice of Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Ruffnut (voice of Kristen Wiig) and her twin brother Tuffnut (voice of Justin Ruppie) and Eret (voice of Kit Harington from “Game of Thrones.”) As you can imagine, there are captures, escapes, more captures, more escapes, with the dragons wanting freedom and their own land and the bad guys wanting the dragons, period, and what an array of colorful dragons, they are. 

You cannot but help cheer for the dragons who want their own land (sound familiar) and boo the villain who wants to keep them captive. Hiccup has to be the Leader and with Astrid at his side, they make quite a team.  Everything about the storyline is colorful from dragons in all shapes, sizes, and colors, to Vikings who are in all shapes and beard colors. Who needs words when actions speak for themselves, especially when Toothless meets the White Fury. The flying episodes are exceptional and look real, with ups and downs so that you want to hold on to your theater arm rest and wait for the “Seat Belt On” sign. 

There is something else about this series of films, the use of something artificial for both a dragon and it’s “human” friend.  Toothless lost part of his tail in the first film, and Hiccup lost one of his legs.  Together, they make a team and use creativity and ingenuity to build lives for themselves so they can walk and fly. In other words, you can do anything if you put your mind to it, and this includes dragons.  Oh, there just has to be a fourth film............. 

 (look to Oscar Time 2019) 

Copyright 2019 Marie Asner