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This (allegedly) final part in the How to Train your Dragon series more than satisfactorily wraps up the trilogy.

It doesn’t reinvent the animated wheel, but breathes fire into the finale – after the excellent first instalment and adequate sequel – with a colourfully-eclectic journey that nicely completes the Dragon story arc.

The film franchise may have been watered-down by having a Netflix TV series – but that doesn’t seem to have hampered the production quality here.

New chief Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his fellow dragon riders continue to rescue the creatures in order to bring them back to the safe haven of Berk – creating a bustling dragon and human utopia.

The only problem is it has got too ‘bustling’ – reaching maximum capacity due to over-crowding – which leaves Hiccup in a quandary about relocating the entire population – including his girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera) and mother Valka (Cate Blanchett) – to new homelands.

This is exasperated by outside threats – particularly with hired tyrant Grimmel (F Murray Abraham) seeking Hiccup’s loyal dragon Toothless – and it’s then a race against time for Hiccup to find the mythical ‘Hidden World’ his father told him about as a boy, to create a new home for his natives.

As an emotional side issue for Hiccup, he has to deal with potentially losing his best pal Toothless, when he realises he’s the last one of the Night Fury breed when he hooks up with a female Light Fury – which further complicates matters.

And what unfolds is a very captivating – above the sequel norm – tale, that provides breathtaking computer-generated animation through various beautifully-rendered locales that has more than a passing nod to Avatar.

With likeable characters, a nice smattering of humour, and noteworthy story, it all nicely comes together for a moving ending – which shows this Dragon’s training has been well and truly completed.

ESP Rating: 4/5

Gavin Miller

Voice Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, F Murray Abraham, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kit Harrington, Craig Ferguson & Gerard Butler

Running Time: 1 Hr 44 Mins

Director: Dean Deblois

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