Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Kit Harrington, Craig Ferguson, F. Murray Abraham
Director: Dean DeBlois
Rating: * * * *
It’s interesting how the exodus story with its timeless appeal, finds its way into numerous narratives, both textual and cinematic. In How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, a visually splendid final instalment of the animated adventure trilogy, the exodus of the titular creatures is sparked, not by the desire for freedom from enslavement, but by (over) population.
The long, arduous migration is threatened by a Pharaonic-type, a dragon-hunting overlord called Grimmel (voiced by F Murray Abraham) who wants to enslave the fearsome fliers but must contend with a Moses-inspired young Viking, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) who is afflicted by an impediment – only it’s a wooden leg instead of the Mosaic stutter. Not that the disability prevents Hiccup from being heroic.
For, Hiccup is an idealist who dreams of a place where both species can live together in harmony. There is, as it happens, such a land, far far away, but it’s meant to be the exclusive preserve of the fire-breathers.
Grimmel has other ideas and plots to thwart Hiccup and his pet alpha dragon, Toothless who remain as endearing as ever all throughout writer-director Dean DeBlois’s adaptation of the books by Cressida Cowell.
Where Vikings are, can warfare lag behind? The script intersperses battles with romance – between Hiccup and his lady love, Astrid (America Ferrera), and Toothless and a white female Light Fury. How Toothless woos her is a sight for cynical eyes. Your reviewer also liked the feisty female Viking who secures her release with the gift of the gab. Come to think of it, all the female characters are strong and positively represented.
Themes of teamwork, friendship and courage abound as the film makes a strong pitch for love, confidence, hope, faith and family. Released nationwide in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, How to train your dragon chapter 3 looks set to be a sure-fire winner with all ages.