How to Train Your Dragon

10 Apr

Title: How to Train Your Dragon
Year: 2010
Directors: Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
Writers: Adam F. Goldberg, Pete Tolan, Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, based on the story by Cressida Cowell
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig
MPAA Rating: PG, sequences of intense action and some scary images, and brief mild language
Runtime: 98 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

The animation in How to Train Your Dragon is unbelievable, whether you see it in 2D or 3D, but what really sets it apart is its script, which in the midst of all these super thrilling action sequences finds a spot for some nice dramatic depth. It’s one of those tales aimed at kids that has an improbable hero in the middle of it all, he is Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, who’s voiced by Jay Baruchel who, from the understated She’s Out of My League, to this one and the forthcoming The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is in the midst of having a career year.

Hiccup is a young viking who lives in a really old village where dragons roam, Hiccup’s father, voiced by Gerard Butler, and who seems to be playing Leonidas once again, and the village’s dragon master, voiced by the awesome Craig Ferguson, are the ones in charge of the battle against the dragons.

During one of those battles Hiccup is ordered to stay put at home, but he attacks a dragon, hits it, and then while he goes to the forest to see his prey he finds a young dragon with whom he bonds and begins a friendship, effectively finding out that dragons can be nice. He goes back to the village with this bit on info and with his new dragon, named Toothless, and a huge alliance of vikings with good dragons is formed as they battle the evil dragons, the battle sequences that ensue being appropriately grand.

What I thought was great, and a big kudos to DreamWorks Animation, a studio that previously had only done one other film I had found truly great, that one being Kung Fu Panda, is that it has seemingly learned something from the true masters of animation, Pixar, that thing being how to convey something without words, whether it being in Wall-E or in the opening sequence of Up Pixar has done it many times, but DreamWorks does it in this one, during the bonding scenes between Hiccup and Toothless which are beautifully done and virtually in complete silence, and when there is music it is a score, done by John Powell, that fits the film really nicely.

How to Train Your Dragon is appropriately large in scale, and has all the action sequences required for one to pay up the extra fee for the 3D ticket, but it also is a film with a lot of heart and that looks simply beautiful, a true step forward from an animation studio that seems to be looking to take quite a bit of these in the coming years.

Grade: B+

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