The third time is charming for ‘How to Train Your Dragon’

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Who would have thought that DreamWorks’ “How To Train Your Dragon” would end up as one of the best film trilogies out there? Definitely not me, but with its strong third chapter, it’s achieved that rare feat.

The studio’s own “Shrek” nose-dived with its No. 3 in 2007; “The Godfather Part III” and “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” have been famously mocked.

But the third “Dragon,” called “The Hidden World,” neatly ends the heartwarming story of gangly Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his fire-breathing friend Toothless, while also making a bigger style impact than its predecessors.

These days, the onetime dragon-hating village of Berk — where Hiccup is chief — now loves its dragons like they’re French bulldogs on Bleecker Street. But Berk has become so crowded with scaly scamps that it’s turned into an easy target for murderous thugs from the other village, like Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), who want to capture and kill them.

Hiccup decides that in order to survive, the Viking town must decamp, and hide away from Grimmel. So they set off in search of the mythical Hidden World, a lost land at the edge of the earth where dragons are said to have originated.

Then a girl gets in the way. Toothless, thought to be the only Night Fury dragon in existence, meets a female of his species that Hiccup and Co. dub the “Light Fury.” She becomes a wedge in the pair’s friendship, and complicates the journey. The dragon romance is sweet and silly, but also impressively graceful like the “Dance at the Gym” scene from “West Side Story.”

The “How To Train Your Dragon” series has always had a bigger heart than the average Pixar film, which leans cerebral and is better suited to nostalgic millennials than kids. “Hidden World” is funny, but not laced with double-entendre or, God forbid, emojis. It’s smart.

The newest “Dragon” adventure, once again written and directed by Dean DeBlois, achieves real visual artistry. One striking sequence has Toothless and his lady go through an aerial courtship, flying through vibrantly colored clouds and waterfalls that look like a “Fantasia” director’s cut. It’s marvelous to look at.

The voice work is also top notch, as usual, thanks to its shrewd casting choices. Baruchel really is a cutely awkward Hiccup type, and Cate Blanchett could just as easily play a dragon tamer in a live-action flick. Gerard Butler gives one of his few decent performances as Hiccup’s dad. And if Abraham could murder Mozart, why not a dragon?

The movie could easily be called “How To End Your Trilogy.”

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