Mar 22, 2010

[Movies] How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

How To Train Your DragonWhile adaptations of TV shows and books into more adult movies don't seem to be going as well, the more radical adaptations of children's stories seem to be doing a lot better.

When you really think about it, they're not actually adapting the full stories. They're pretty much taking the concepts of books and developing them further, adding more depth and then rendering the whole thing in CGI - better yet 3D. There is just so many 3D movies these days - it's getting a little funny. But hey, I'm not complaining either.

So yeah, I end up being pretty excited about each new animated movie that's due to be released. These days I'm probably not even familiar with the source material - it makes it easier to enter the theater with no expectations while still hoping to be blown away.

It still seems to happen, thankfully enough.

How To Train Your Dragon Movie Theater StandeeImage by christianz1969 via Flickr

How To Train Your Dragon is an interesting CGI-rendered animated movie more-or-less based on a children's book of the same name. It's interestingly set in a world of Vikings constantly defending themselves from dragon attacks. They regularly attempt to steal their sheep for food while the Vikings learn how to fight them off from birth. Well, most of them anyway.

Enter Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a bumbling Viking who doesn't appear to be any good at fighting or killing dragons. He's the son of the village chieftain Stoick (Gerard Butler) , who is one of the greatest dragon killers of them all and thus it hurts all the more when he find himself unable to fulfill his father's dreams. His naturally inquisitive mind has left him in the care of Gobber (Craig Ferguson) as his apprentice and out of harm's way when the dragons attack.

During one raid he tries one of his crazy inventions and manages to take one of the dragons down. It turns out to be the mythical Night Fury and the dragon is now unable to fly away because of his injuries. Oddly enough, Hiccup starts to befriend the dragon that he later names Toothless and he soon learns that there's a whole different side to dragons that they had never realized.

I got to watch the movie in digital 3D and already it made me regret not choosing to watch it in IMAX. The movie is visually stunning and highly entertaining, although some of the more intense action / flying sequences might make some viewers dizzy because of all the visual input going on. Still, it's a well made movie from a technical aspect and it's worth the extra money to go see it in a 3D-capable theater.

The voice acting took a while to get used to since they chose to make the vikings sound all Scottish (because of Butler taking the lead no doubt) but in the end it becomes a minor point since you just learn to accept that it's the way they talk, so go. You can even forgive the fact that the kids sound a lot older than they should - it just happens that way.

The best part of the movie is how Hiccup gradually learns all these tricks and techniques in terms of taming dragons. He finds their secret spots and what plants seem to have an affect on them and it all happens quite accidentally yet still in a realistic way. Well, as realistic as it's possible given they are in fact handling dragons here.

The story was very fulfilling and quite uplifting in the end. Sure, there were bits that seemed a tad odd but it is still a children's movie and in the end it manages to develop into a pretty rich plot for both young and old. Combine that with all the technical stuff and you end up with a pretty great movie.

How To Train Your Dragon is a stellar movie that I'd recommend to anyone regardless of age. It's fun, entertaining, and quite gripping overall plus it's worth the extra money in order to experience it in full 3D. This movie gets a full 5 creatively different types of dragons out of a possible 5.

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  1. I agree! Nice to see that the producers were bold and realistic enough to show what they did to his leg. Ouch.

  2. Oh definitely! I thought that was a nice touch as well, hehe.