How to Train Your Dragon is an unconventional, epic tale about one of the unlikeliest heroes you’ll ever meet. It’s the latest big budget animated feature from DreamWorks and it’s directed by the guys who brought you 2002′s Lilo & Stitch. I walked into the film expecting it to be “just another animation” with nothing out of the ordinary that would warrant your time or money — but I was proved wrong. From the animation to the voice work it proved itself tenfold, focusing not only on special effects but most importantly the story.
- Director: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
- Writers: Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders (screenplay), Cressida Cowell (story), Adam F. Goldberg, Peter Tolan
- Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller
- Music: John Powell
How to Train Your Dragon centers on a teenage boy named Hiccup, the son of a very famous dragon slayer. After a sad attempt to catch a dragon on his own, he unexpectedly becomes the friend of one and nicknames him Toothless. He feeds him, takes care of him and eventually trains him to be his pet. Their relationship becomes the talk of the town and is the catalyst that changes the way humans see dragons forever.
- The Cast: The actors were all very well cast for the film. Gerard Butler was the perfect uber-masculine viking father and Jay Baruchel played his awkward teen son to a “T.” This was one of the rare occasions where “name” actors didn’t overshadow the animated characters they were playing.
- The Animation: It was detailed, sharp, and extremely polished. There were certain scenes where the animation looked like live action because it was so well done. You could see the of hair standing up on the male character’s arms, and the scaly skin on the dragon’s nostrils.
- The Story: On the surface, the story seems like something we’ve all seen and heard before. It shows two groups, in this case humans and dragons, killing each other over fear and lack of understanding. But somehow it finds a way to get you invested in the awkward friendship between Hiccup and Toothless despite the familiar circumstances.
- The Humor: There are plenty of comedic moments that won’t go over the heads of children, or be too low brow for adults. A lot of the funniest bits actually come from the dragons themselves and their facial expressions and reactions to certain situations. Believe me, they’re not on screen just to be the bad guys, they bring the laughs.
- The Accents: I’m well aware that this is a fantasy film, but why is it that the vikings in this movie have heavy Scottish accents, yet their children speak in an American dialect? That type of discrepancy got under my skin as an adult but I’m sure the kids watching won’t mind.
With DreamWorks animated films you never know what you’re going to get, so How to Train Your Dragon was a welcomed surprise. It was entertaining, witty, and had heart which a lot of movies these days lack. The performances were wonderful, the animation was stellar and overall it was an enjoyable movie watching experience.
How to Train Your Dragon opens on Friday, March 26, 2010.
Will you go see How To Train Your Dragon this weekend?