How to Train Your Dragon is the kind of animated film that makes me sorry I’m such an animation snob. If it’s not Pixar I probably won’t see it in theaters. If it’s Disney I might, only because they’ve once again proven themselves as a studio worth my time and money in recent years. But for some reason I still find it easy to ignore Dreamworks, despite some great movies coming from them over the past decade plus.
Dragon is full of the same sweet style of storytelling found in other “a boy and his beloved pet” stories. There’s just something about learning to care for an animal (usually a dog) that makes for a perfect coming of age tale, and this movie is no different. There are shades of Old Yeller and The Rescuers Down Under here, set against a fictionalized viking background. Yeah, it’s a story you’ve heard a million times before, but it doesn’t really matter. This story is charming and you will like it.
This film is full of some great voice talent, particularly Jay Baruchel as the young hero Hiccup. Baruchel is perfect as the bookish young viking who does not fit in. He completely sells the character, and carries scenes where it is just Hiccup talking to his pet dragon, Toothless. Other standouts include America Ferrara, Gerard Butler, and Craig Ferguson. Ferguson especially sounds like he’s having a lot of fun playing viking.
How to Train Your Dragon is a cute story about finding your talent and being yourself. It’s not exactly a unique plot, but it’s still fun and entertaining. Enough so, that I’ll definitely be more curious when the next Dreamworks animated feature is released.
This is a charming film. Dreamworks Animation have always been bit players in the world of cartoons. Regularly playing little brother to the might of Disney and Pixar. This film is a good example of the quality they can produce though. It is a fun story with a good message for the younger target audience, the fact it won’t put parents to sleep is also a bonus.
The film follows young Viking, Hiccup (Jay Baruchal), the son of clan leader, Stoick (Gerard Butler). Hiccup is something of a joke among the clan, choosing to focus on inventing useful tools for them, rather than hunt and kill dragons like most of the other macho males. Hiccup is sick of being a joke, so he finally decides to join one of their battles against the fearful dragons. Hiccup ends up using an invention to shoot one out of the sky, the dragon is black so nobody believes him. Turns out the dragon he shot down was a baby night fury dragon, supposedly the most dangerous of all dragons. Most men have never seen one alive, let alone shot one down. Hiccup finds his dragon to be severely injured, but otherwise not harmful. He decides to train the dragon in secret, using it to uncover clues about other breeds so he can be more popular among the clan. He invents a new tale for the dragon, which he has called Toothless, and begins to ride him around also. He soon realises that some dragons aren’t the monster his clan thinks they are, and can be trained to be very useful. When some new larger dragons attack the clan, Hiccup must use his new skills and pet dragon to stop them from destroying everything.
This film is a lot of fun. I really liked it. I was never really that fond of much of the Dreamworks animation movies, outside of Shrek. Madagascar and Kung-Fu Panda did not really grab me like anything Pixar has made. This was the first film of theirs I really enjoyed that wasn’t about a grumpy green ogre. The animation is done really well, and the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless is a lot of fun. The highlight of the film for me is when they first meet and begin to interact with each other. The voice cast is good. Jay Baruchel is great as the nerdy Hiccup and I’m not sure you can come up with anyone more macho than Gerard Butler and have him believably portray a Viking.
How to Train Your Dragon is a fun movie for kids and enough there to entertain the adults too.