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Movie Reviews

How To Train Your Dragon

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Reviewed by Mitch Hansch

Released: 26th March 2010

Starring: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois, Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler

Certificate: U

Dreamworks, which  has never really made animated movies up to par with those of Pixar (Dreamwork’s mediocre “Bee Movie”, “Shark Tale” and the forgettable “Road to El Dorado”.), closes the gap significantly with the fantastic “How to Train Your Dragon.”  “HtTYD” is an animated film made for all ages, boasting a script with surprising depth and breathtaking animation.  Directors Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders create the best film of the year, so far.

Village Sturdy is a fine enough place for any of the Vikings living there, outside of the fact that they are in the middle of  a war with fire-breathing dragons.  Scrawny little Viking Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) wants nothing more  than to slay a dragon, but he can barely even pick up an axe.  Young Hiccup is clumsy, and is more of nuisance  than anything else.  This is all to the disappointment of his father, Chief Stoik (voiced by Gerard Butler), the leader of the village.  Throughout the movie, the strained relationship between Hiccup and his father is a source of very effective drama in the film.

Hiccup is good with gadgets, creating  a device that takes down the deadliest and most difficult to kill dragon, the “Nightfury.”  However, Hiccup can’t go through with killing the dragon, (who he names “Toothless,”)  and instead lets him go.  By doing this, a bond is formed between man and dragon, and Hiccup  discovers that everything his people thought they knew about dragons was wrong.  ”HtTYD” is consistent with the right amount of humor and tenderness that brings forth moral lessons we learn at Hiccup’s young age.

Toothless’s tail was injured when Hiccup caught him, so Hiccup creates a prosthetic tail that lets Toothless fly again.  The only catch is that the tail only functions when the two work together.  When the two of them take off, the movie really takes off as well.  The animation really stands out here; it made my jaw drop watching the truly beautiful flight sequences, and made me hold onto my seat during the spectacular battle scenes. The expertly done animation gives weight to the story, making it feel as realistic as possible. In turn, this makes us care so much more for everyone involved in the story.

All the voice talent comes through  in this movie.  Dare I say this is the year of Jay Baruchel?  He’s already been in the mid-March release “She’s Out of My League,” now he’s in “HtTYD,” and later this year he will star with Nicolas Cage in “The Sorcerers Apprentice.”  Gerard Butler did a fine job, but this is probably because he overacts so much that a cartoon is just the right fit for him.  Craig Ferguson is especially funny as Gobber, the Viking who can interchange his lost hand with a beer mug , and America Ferrera is sweet as Astrid, as the young female Viking with possible shenanigans developing between her and Hiccup.

With a thrilling climax, “How to Train Your Dragon” soars all the way!

Number of times I got misty: 2

Number of times I let a tear squirt: 1

Number of times I wanted to smack the kid bouncing around in front of me: 16

Number of times you should see this film:  At least once.

25 year old film fanatic who loves rock music, Xbox and cat videos on Youtube. I also tweet @lewisvstheworld

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