How To Train Your Dragon Review (4.5 of 5)
Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon, a boy meets dragon movie, is fun whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart. I think I liked this even more than I liked last year’s ‘Up’ (which I picked as my Best Movie of 2009). While Up was just a bit more serious in tone (and emotional resonance), ‘Dragon’ had more thrills a minute than that one did.
There are several majestically sweeping flying scenes that were done as well as anything in Avatar, maybe even better. I think the days of the ‘but it’s inferior to Pixar ‘ automated response is coming to an end. I enjoyed this (and Kung Fu Panda) more than a lot of Pixar movies. Not that I have anything against Pixar; maybe just their blindly loyal snob fans.
The story is that of Hiccup, a Viking boy voiced by the presently very busy Jay Baruchel, who can’t quite measure up to acceptable Viking standards. His father is a bit disappointed with him and is afraid to let him train to fight what plagues their home: dragons.
The trouble is, at this point, Hiccup would very much like to help ward off the dragons like everyone in town. He even has new ideas how to deal with the dragon menace and has even devised some new anti-dragon artillary which amuses some of the other Vikings.
It’s not so easy in the actual film. Sure, you’ll probably have an idea how the movie works itself out by the end, but it has quite a few surprises before getting there. I don’t spoil good movies so I won’t say anything else about the plot.
The massive creature that turns up as the antagonistic force at the end of the film was spectacular.
When it reveals itself, it’s very impressive, more so than the massive creature in another film I saw around the same time: Clash of the Titans… And this was a cartoon.
The voices were all well cast, despite the fact that the characters were Norseman (Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson are both Scottish aren’t they?).
All of the younger Vikings were voiced by American actors, but despite that, it still worked. I’m just glad there weren’t any pop culture references like Shrek. It never even tried to have a Norse tone; it was a contemporary tilted film, but that’s okay. I can’t get everything I want.