How to Train Your Dragon is the story of Hiccup, a Viking who feels out of place since he's not a fan of killing the dragons the Viking's world so revolves around in. But, when Hiccup captures the rare Night Fury Dragon and inadvertently injures it, the two become fast friends and attempt to bridge the gap of understanding between the Dragons & the Vikings. It may not sound like much, but things are deeper than they may seem here, and they are 3 reasons you need to go out and watch this movie right now.
1: Casting: Having seen Jay Baruchel as a geeky character in the film Fanboys, this film only solidifies for me the fact that Baruchel makes cliched characters feel real & brings traits out they wouldn't have otherwise, and this fact is very evident here. The same is true for the rest of the cast. In Shrek 2, Larry King was wasted in a long-running and painful transvestite joke. Here, Craig Ferguson is perfect in the role not only because he's Scottish, but he brings the appropriate mix of eccentric leadership needed for the right-hand man of Gerard Butler's character, who is also well cast. The same goes for the rest of the cast with the possible exception of Jonah Hill, who always feels out of place in almost every movie he's in.
2: Visual Effects & 3D: Now this may because the Viking environment hasn't been portrayed much on screen before, but the film is stunningly beautiful, and that's only reinforced by the 3D which is used better than Avatar in some cases, especially in the case of the flying sequences.
3: The Emotion/Uniqueness of the Film in Animation Today: The story gives way to many emotional moments in the film, all of which are played perfectly. And, not to give too much away, but at the end of the film something happens the to main character that was not only shocking to me, since I'd never seen something of its magnitude done in animation period, but to me it was also one of the most tear-jerking moments, especially in relation to what it does to the relationships & similarities between Hiccup & his dragon in the movie.
Overall, how do you train your dragon? With charm, love, understanding, amazing visuals & stunning 3-D flying sequences. This film ranks up there with Pixar's best, and if I had any criticism towards the movie, it would be the fact that it's made by Dreamworks, and with their quality lately, you don't have high expectation entering this film. Nevertheless, How to Train Your Dragon gets a fire-breathing 5 out of 5.
This is well worth a watch and a great movie to watch with your kids - you won't be bored and the kids will think you're the super cool parent that you are.
Me? I want my own dragon, darn it!
This film is more serious in tone than laugh out loud funny, much like the latest from Pixar (UP, Wall-E, etc.), but it does have quite a few laughs that come naturally, not forced. I'm so glad they stayed away from pop culture references. Both kids and parents will love How to Train Your Dragon equally and probably for much different reasons. The only thing that I didn't care for were the first 10 minutes or so. Not that they are bad in any way, but it felt a little rushed. Once the film settles and Hiccup (the boy viking) meets the dragon, everything begins to click. The only other negative is that every kid is going to want a pet dragon for their birthday. Good luck with that!