‘How to Train Your Dragon – The Hidden World’ review: Monsters and men

In 2010, Dreamworks Animation gave the world, what is arguably the most heart-tugging character in animation history. Very few creatures (2002’s Stitch comes close) could compare to Toothless the dragon’s massive emotive eyes and ears, goofy puppy-like antics and adorable rumbling growls. Through three films, writer and director Dean DeBlois has brilliantly crafted a heart-warming bond between man and his dragon.

In the final instalment, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, humans have overcome their bigotry. People and dragons live in harmony on the Viking island Berk. Their home is ripping at the seams and yet, the islanders continue to intercept and rescue dragons from warlords transporting the beasts for nefarious activities. Berk’s paradise life is threatened by a dragon hunter, Grimmel the Grisly (F. Murray Abraham) who’s intent on killing the last Night Fury in existence: Toothless. He’ll do anything to protect mankind who in his gloriously mistaken opinion deserve a dragon-free existence.

It’s a worthy metaphor for all the intolerance and discrimination all over the world today. Men with power continue to thrust their warped ideologies on people. It’s particularly heartening then to see Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his band of eccentric friends protect their way of life with everything they’ve got. These adult themes might not exactly resonate with the young ones. But they’ll definitely appreciate universal virtues such as tolerance, love and compassion to all, even supposedly lesser beings like animals.

In The Hidden World, Toothless finds love with a White Fury, a white dragon. His dorky attempts at wooing her can melt a stone. Berk’s Vikings continue to be comical, particularly Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig)