How To Train Your Dragon
Directed by Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois
Starring Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson
Release date: March 26, 2010
Dreamworks Animation has a spotty track record with me. Some of their movies I’ve loved (Shrek, Kung Fu Panda) and some of their movies I haven’t loved (Madagascar, Bee Movie, Shark Tale), so I wasn’t sure what to expect from How to Train Your Dragon.
Based on the whimsical children’s novel of the same name by Cressida Cowell, the film follows the story of of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), a Viking teenager who happens to be the worst dragonslayer in the history of Vikings. Fortunately for Hiccup, he soon meets a dragon named Toothless who shows him that everything the Vikings know about dragons is completely wrong.
This film really impressed me. I had been looking forward to it ever since I saw the trailer before my viewing of A Christmas Carol in IMAX 3D a few months ago and I have to say I was not disappointed in the least.
Visually the film is beautiful and I found myself in awe many times during the film. From the vast ocean shots to the dense forest scenes, the animators really outdid themselves on this one. It was beautiful not just from a pure aesthetic standpoint but also from a cinematography and composition standpoint. I thought film was breathtaking. Many times I had to remind myself I was watching a 100% computer-generated film because the camera looked and felt like it was actually in a live-action film.
By far the highlights of the film are John Powell’s score and every single flying scene. Both work in tandem to provide exhilarating experiences for the viewer that was briefly seen in Avatar, but nothing to the extent found here in How To Train Your Dragon. I could feel the hairs on my arm standing up as I watched in amazement, Hiccup and Toothless effortlessly gliding across the screen making me more and more envious as the film progressed.
Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois are responsible for some of my favorite animated Disney films (Lilo & Stitch and Mulan), but I feel like with the direction and storytelling found in Dragons they’ve ascended to the next level in their evolution as filmmakers.
In the current Hollywood fad of 3 dimensional images, I have to give kudos to the directors for utilizing 3D in a visually intriguing way that added depth and excitement to the film overall. If you want to wash the bad taste of the Alice In Wonderland (and from what I hear, the upcoming Clash Of The Titans) 3D out of your mouth, see How To Train Your Dragon.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy as much was, at times, Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson’s thick Scottish accents. The accents made it hard to understand what they were saying at times and I thought it was an odd choice in general for Vikings, but that’s a minor nitpick in an otherwise fantastic film.
The Geek: Fantastic score, visually stunning, awesome flying sequences.
The Weak: Vikings with Scottish accents?
Vactor’s Verdict: a 5 Out Of 5