Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

Hiccup’s small village has a unique set of pests – dragons. While all of his fellow Vikings train to kill the dragons and stop the ménage Hiccup is sidelined because he is viewed as incapable. After one attack Hiccup finds a young dragon stranded in the woods unable to fly away; slowly Hiccup trains the dragon and learns that everything his fellow Vikings know about dragons is wrong, but he is unsure how to show them without endangering his dragon and disappointing the entire village.

How to Train Your Dragon is what a good family film should be. It is a well written, directed and crafted film that aims not just to please the children in the audience but the entire family and delivers a positive message. Hiccup is a very identifiable character for a person of any age; he is a teenager who wants to be recognized for who he is but as he is different from those around him he is instead shunned and made fun of. Through the film Hiccup has to learn to become comfortable with himself and take ownership of who he is – a great message for teens and children.

Above and beyond the fantastic message How to Train Your Dragon holds, the film is simply a joy to watch. I could care less about 3D (though I did see it in 3D), this film is simply an adventure movie from start to finish and doesn’t sacrifice story to do this.

What did shock me a bit about How to Train Your Dragon was the end of the film. I’m not going to give anything away, and I would be interested in knowing if the book ended the same way, but some things happen that I don’t think would normally happen in a children’s film – but these events are also woven in through the bulk of the film. The adolescent characters are Vikings and they are thrown into dangerous and deadly situations for the length of the entire film & characters do get hurt.

The animation and 3D in How to train Your Dragon are stunning. I don’t agree with the ad campaign that boasts the “3D makes even AVATAR jealous”, but seeing this film on the big screen – in any format – would be an experience that cannot be replicated at home no matter how good your television is.

Directors: Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders
Writer: Dean DeBlois
Hiccup: Jay Baruchel
Stoick: Gerard Butler
Gobber: Craig Ferguson
Astrid: America Ferrera
Snotlout: Jonah Hill
Ruffnut: Kristen Wiig
Tuffnut: TJ Miller

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