Gerard Butler has had a varied career since his ascent to stardom in vampire horror Dracula 2000. Although he has taken on few voice roles, in each of the How to Train Your Dragon movies he memorably played Stoick the Vast, a Viking chieftain and father of series protagonist Hiccup. The third and final of them, The Hidden World, has landed straight into Netflix’s top ten.
The series denouement sees the peaceful coexistence of the Vikings and dragons come under threat by hunter Grimmel the Grisly, a maniac obsessed with exterminating every dragon alive, in particular Hiccup’s Night Fury Toothless. To keep them safe the islanders search for the titular mythical land where the dragons can live and remain safe from the violence of the human world.
Unlike the previous two movies of the trilogy, Butler’s part is rather small, as Stoick was tragically killed in the middle installment protecting Hiccup. However, he reappears in a couple of flashback scenes with Hiccup as a young boy, the small child unbearably adorable in the huge man’s arms. First, the future dragon trainer is told of the legend of the Hidden World that inspires Hiccup to lead his people in search of it. Later, we see a touching scene set the night after Valka, his wife and Hiccup’s mother, was taken in a raid by the dragons (then under the control of the Red Death), and Stoick delivers a heartfelt speech about the importance of love.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a perfect end to one of DreamWorks’ most consistently high quality series, delivering the action, wit, heart, humor and imagination that are the saga’s hallmarks. Although Butler’s Stoick is only around for a matter of minutes his presence is still felt, and demonstrates that loved ones can still remain with you even after you lose them.