An animated franchise that so far had been a glorious exploration of reason over violence, human partnership with the natural world, and dragons—oh so many beautiful dragons!—comes to a flat and disappointing conclusion. Hiccup (voice of Jay Baruchel), now leader of the Viking village of Berk, embarks on a quest to save dragonkind from cruel hunter Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) by finding a legendary sanctuary where the beasts can conceal themselves. Yet not only is The Hidden World not about this hidden world—it barely appears—it’s not about much of anything else, either. Everything Hiccup has been building and working toward over the previous movies is threatened, and yet oddly, the stakes feel very low. Sure, the world of Hiccup and his Night Fury dragon, Toothless, still looks touchably gorgeous—see this in IMAX if you want see it at all—and there’s certainly nothing offensive here. Indeed, Hiccup remains the sort of hero the big screen sees far too few of; he’s a great example of non-toxic masculinity. But his final adventure is, sadly, instantly forgettable.
Director: Dean DeBlois
Producer: Bradford Lewis, Bonnie Arnold, Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders
Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harington, Justin Rupple, Robin Atkin Downes, Kieron Elliott, Julia Emelin, Gideon Emery, Ashley Jensen, AJ Kane, Ólafur Ólafsson, James Sie and David Tennant