Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon
Walt Disney may be about to turn over in his grave. DreamWorks has started making animated movies that are actually worth something. How to Train Your Dragon, Dreamworks’ latest, is perhaps its best effort yet.
The movie centers around a boy named Hiccup who is a misfit Viking. Why is he a misfit? Well, he is about 400 pounds lighter than all of them, has no facial hair, and he can’t kill a dragon. For those of you who don’t know, dragons are as common as cats and dogs to these Viking people, except the dragons are super deadly and eat their livestock as well as citizens. Can your dog do that? I didn’t think so. Anyway, killing a dragon is essentially the way to earn your respect/manhood, and pretty much everyone can kill one except our young hero, Hiccup.
One day while out trying to kill one of these monsters he ends up accidentally detaining one of the feared “night furies,” who are the biggest, scariest, meanest dragons in town. When he eventually finds the creature, he discovers that the dragon isn’t as evil as previously thought and the two form a special bond. He trains the dragon, and after that the misadventures the two have are even enough to make me giddy. Once the stage is set the story really unfolds and we are given a plot that is simply a treat. It is exciting, funny, witty and overall a joy.
The film does very well in the effects department. The characters look simply amazing and the high-flying dragon battles are very intense and gripping. This is not commonly seen in a kid’s movie, but it is most certainly a good change. The action scenes were amazing, and I didn’t even see it in 3-D, which I agree with Roger Ebert is “Nothing but the opportunity to pay more to see a distracting and unnecessary additional dimension.”
The voice cast is lead by Jay Baruchel who does an excellent job providing wit and satire to the main character Hiccup. Gerard Butler also lends his voice playing Hiccup’s Viking father. Butler adds a certain unique element to the roll, kind of like he did in the film 300. He is a vicious, manly-man character, who isn’t afraid to crack a joke here and there. While good-spirited and fun, the voice acting is also extremely witty. I guarantee you will be shocked at some of the jokes – in a good way, of course. The film’s soundtrack includes vocals and composed pieces which add very well to the mood.
How to Train Your Dragon is a great film for the kids, the old folks, the grownups, and anyone really. It provides enough doses of satire, action, and adventure that anyone can sit in the theater with a smile on their face enjoying the movie. I recommend this film to any and everyone who just wants to see a good movie. Your move, Disney.
I give it 4/5 stars.