Rated PG for sequences of intense action and some scary images, and brief mild language.
Directed By: Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders
Written By: Cressida Cowell and Dean DeBlois
Staring: Gerard Butler, Jay Baruchel, Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristin Wiig, Robin Atkin Downes, and Phillip McGrade
Thank you for nothing, you useless reptile. -Hiccup
I love this movie. I saw it this morning with my four year old son and each of us enjoyed it just as much as the other. An early morning showing with only the two of us in the theatre, we shared what was by far one of the most purely enjoyable children/family films I’ve seen since probably Shrek was released. Don’t expect or ask for the depth of a Pixar film, because How To Train Your Dragon avoids all of that intent and focuses on it’s endearing characters, true comedy, and a story that while not new was executed in a refreshing and joyous way. This is the kind of movie going to the theater is all about: pure and simple fun.
Hiccup is a Viking who isn’t exactly what his father had hoped him to be. Small in stature, constantly putting himself in danger, and his inventions failing and causing more mayhem than help, he certainly doesn’t seem Viking material. His father is the head of their people, and in spite of Hiccup’s short comings his father tries to accept him for what he is, but Hiccup continues to bide for his fathers attention and be the best Viking ever by capturing the elusive Night Fury that no one has ever captured, but has also ever seen. The reclusive creature becomes the centerpiece for the rest of the films conflict, as Hiccup affectionately names him “Toothless”.
First of all I avoided the 3D experience as I’ve been utterly not even close to being impressed with it aside from Avatar. But as far as I’m concerned it didn’t need it. The animation was spectacular and gripping. The colors were bright and vivid, and there was a depth and quality that gave it the feeling of 3D anyway. The realism and fantasy feel were well balanced and I never once wanted to take my eyes off what I was seeing.
I fell in love with Hiccup and Toothless, and you will too, because they are the centerpiece of this adventure and fantasy story. The dragons manage to be both terrifying, and also endearing. The relationships of the characters, particularly Hiccup and his father unfolded without force, and the disdain Asterid had for him, also manifested at a genuine progression. It was such a relief that characters and plot weren’t overworked and the story was allowed to naturally unfold.
The common themes are there. A kid being a misfit and wanting acceptance from his father, but what this did was leave the rest of the story open to develop the characters further, show relationships develop, and have a candid pacing that really built to an exciting climax. Just because it was a base story we are all familiar with.
Take the whole family to see How To Tame Your Dragon or go by yourself, either way it’s going to be a memorable adventure. Dragons, Vikings, battle, and lovable characters? What more can you ask for when visiting “the big TV” as my youngest calls it. I’m taking my oldest son to see this sometime this weekend and can’t really wait for it’s release on DVD because I can see this is one of those movies that is going to be watched and enjoyed countless times over. Remember the movies don’t always have to be about Oscar nominated performances or scripts. Sometimes a simple and good movie is all us moviegoers really want.
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