A New Media Channel. By Fans, For Fans.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Still image from How to Train Your Dragon showing Hiccup tossing a fish to Toothless
When a DreamWorks Animation movie makes you feel something, it's special. When a DreamWorks Animation movie makes you question which film will win Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes and Oscars, it's interesting. When a DreamWorks Animation movie makes you wonder if this is the same studio that has become known for cramming pop culture references and farts into its movies, it's How to Train Your Dragon.

How to Train Your Dragon is the classic story of the kid who is different from everybody else. That kid is Hiccup, and if you didn't know, that voice is Jay Baruchel's. Hiccup is a small, weak kid who wants to at least fit in with his fellow vikings. He's not seeking extreme popularity, and he KNOWS being accepted for himself is a long shot. His own father, Stoick (Gerard Butler), won't even accept him. However, he figures fitting in would be nice. The way to fit in is to kill a dragon.
Along comes a "Night Fury," the most dangerous breed of dragon. Hiccup has trapped him and left him defenseless. With a blade in his hand, Hiccup looks into the dragon's eyes and sees a plea for mercy. Hiccup frees the dragon and starts their slow-building secret friendship. Hiccup names the dragon Toothless, because he has retractable teeth, and together they are able to change their world for the better.
The best part of this movie is that it's different from anything else DreamWorks has ever come up with. As I said before, no overly crude humor or cheap laughs. The goal of How to Train Your Dragon is a little less about laughs and more about creating "oohs and aahs" among the audience. This is accomplished through the action scenes. This film has some of the best flying sequences in any film. The 3D only makes it better, as it is done subtly and isn't overused.
My only problem with the plot is that Hiccup's story arc and his dad's are familiar and have been done before. The good thing is they've never been done quite like this, so it's just a minor problem.
Will How to Train Your Dragon beat Toy Story 3 at the Oscars? Hell no, but it is still an amazing movie on par with some of Pixar's other best works and older DreamWorks Animation movies like Antz and Shrek.