98 Min | Animation – Adventure – Family | March 2010
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Directors: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
How to Train Your Dragon Review: If this is done following the same old beat up formula that Hollywood sticks to with regards to animation, then the dragons will be yakking non-stop. Thank goodness that How to Train Your Dragon, directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, avoids this like the plague, and Jay Baruchel voices Hiccup, a viking kid who happens to be more brains than brawn, more scrawny than buffed, and this of course sets him apart from the rest of his warrior clan folks, who are battle scarred from the constant defense of the village pests – dragons who come from afar to plunder their livestock and setting their houses on fire, so much so that every house on the block is relatively brand new. Wanting to help out in any way he can, he’s deemed more of a liability than an asset, especially when even his dad Stoick (Gerard Butler) cannot appreciate his unique, technical talent.
The story here is the strength of How to Train Your Dragon, being witty, smart but never condescending nor insulting the intelligence of the audience. While most characters are caricatures, especially Hiccup’s peers, a lot of effort have been put into creating the leads as multi-dimensional and full of heart. Sure there’s the usual father-son misunderstanding and expectations, and how a zero turns to hero, or even the theme of fearing something that we don’t fully comprehend, but it’s the manner in which the usual got delivered, that made all the difference. Especially so for its anti-war stance, that all it takes is a little step back from the common battle-cry, and instead seek to be understood, by holding out an olive branch, and to understand first.
Action junkies will find the action sequences in the film faultless. Fights are incredible, and always accompanied either by humour that worked without the feeling that it was deliberate nor just tried too hard, coupled with the comedic voice talents such as Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. How to Train Your Dragon is similar to last year’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – Long titles, great story, beautiful animation and a total delight. Highly recommended, and How to Train Your Dragon is the best films of this year.