Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
98 minutes
Rated – PG
Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders

Grade:  A-

DreamWorks has fought hard to keep up with the endless wave of animation magic from Pixar with stand-outs like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. But while those shine as parodies, How to Train Your Dragon is arguably their strongest animated film to date.

There is a war between the Vikings and the dragons in Berk. Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is a scrawny teenage boy who wants to fit in with the rest of the dragon-slaying Vikings. He has additional pressure because his father, Stoick (voiced by Gerard Butler), is the dragon-slaying leader on the island. When Hiccup captures a Night Fury, one of the most dangerous breed of dragons, he bonds with it, names it Toothless and discovers they’re not all that dangerous. But when he tries to spread the word of his realization, the Viking people, especially Stoick, are too single-minded to listen.

The story is nothing new, but the way it is executed is exciting. The bright colors of the animation and the lively characters jumped off the screen (or maybe it was because of the 3-D). Speaking of the 3-D, I felt that seeing the movie in 3-D wasn’t necessary and specially not worth the extra money. There were probably two scenes (three max) that were beneficial to see in 3-D than the standard, most notably the scenes when Hiccup rides on Toothless over the seas.

How to Train Your Dragon, surprisingly, has a bunch of layers that lie deeper than a typical animated feature. There is conflict and morals at stake within Hiccup. It is a great accomplishment. It appeals to kids and to adults. It’s a coming-of-age story. It’s a man and his pet movie. It’s an exciting action-adventure. It’s a hilarious comedy. Wait, are you sure this isn’t a Pixar film?

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