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How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

March 31, 2010

VERDICT:
8/10 Epic Pets

Not quite up to Pixar standards, but still thoroughly entertaining. 

How to Train Your Dragon is about a scrawny viking living in the shadow of his father – The Ultimate Viking – as he continually tries and continually fails to be a dragon slayer like the rest of the hardcore folks in his hardcore village. Then one day, the kid gets lucky and captures himself one heavy duty dragon, but instead of chopping that baby up into a new pair of kicks, he befriends the dragon and learns that dragons ain’t so bad after all.

So misunderstood…

The first time I saw the poster for this movie, the last thing I expected was that I’d be giving it an 8 out of 10 a couple months later. Just looked like another Dreamworks movie about some funky animals in 3-D that my 7-year-old brother would probably lose his LEGOs over and I could care less about. But then the reviews started to pour in, the insanely positive reviews that boggled the mind, and since there hasn’t been a whole lot worth seeing in this brand new decade of ours, here I am typing away with a mouth full of Converse.

My biggest hesitation of the bunch upon going into this was that I had to see in 3-D because they literally aren’t playing this thing in good ol’ two dimensions at the moment. Since I’m still thinking that this whole 3-D craze is gonna fizzle out soon enough just like it did the first time around when everyone thought it was the coolest thing since Wham!, I wasn’t too happy about this. But like I said, these Converse are tasting mighty good and the 3-D isn’t gimmicky in the least.

Much like Avatar, it’s a fully realized 3-D experience and it’s not just crap trying to poke you in the eye every five minutes. The quality of the visuals are out of sight (especially all the dragon riding scenes that also look like they’re straight out of Avatar), same goes for the overall animation and while I’m still not crazy about paying an extra seven bucks to see things the way I do in my everyday life and look like Roy Orbison in the process, if more animators jump on the bandwagon like Dreamworks has here, I can see myself coming around.

And with the exception of Jay Baruchel who was poorly casted as our unlikely hero, Hiccup, the voice acting is pretty solid all around. Great call on getting Gerard Butler as Hiccup’s father, Stoick. Best thing that guy’s done in forever.

But the thing really holding Dragon back is the script that in a lot of ways does just feel like a Dreamworks product. As much as it did tug on the heartstrings towards the end and worked in a strong “father and sons” dynamic throughout, it still felt formulaic and kid-oriented. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself, but it’s not very deep or affecting or funny or surprisingly mature in the way that so many Pixar scripts are. Then again, it is fun and it does work, so there’s only so much I can gripe about in this regard. Just wished I had laughed more.

But the real question is, was it worth the 19 bucks I paid to see it?

As much as it pains me to say it and as much as I don’t condone highway robbery in any shape or form, yes, it was worth the 19 bucks. Helps to have a blog to justify the hole in my wallet, but hey, it’s always worth the money if the movie’s good.

My friend Andrew used to talk about how cool it would be to have a pet dragon, and even though I still think it’d be a bit difficult to pull that off in a one-bedroom apartment in New York City (maybe the suburbs though), this movie definitely confirms that it would be quite freakin’ awesome. Admission into How to Train Your Dragon might be a lot on the steep side, but be the good boyfriend/husband/parent and take someone along for the ride. Had a far more enjoyable time at this than I thought I would even if I did look like the creepiest guy on Earth seeing this by myself in a theater packed with baby Mozarts.

Good job, Dreamworks. Guys are movin’ on up to that deluxe apartment in the sky.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2010 10:44 am

    I wish James Cameron could let me SING like Roy Orbison
    Travelling Wilburys.. best band ever
    do a ‘Who’s your favourite Travelling Wilbury?’ poll AR, i dare ya!

  2. March 31, 2010 8:08 pm

    Great write-up! I definitely need to check out this film sometime this weekend.

  3. April 1, 2010 12:43 am

    I thought this was going to be a real article about how to train my dragon??!

  4. April 3, 2010 4:57 pm

    “The first time I saw the poster for this movie, the last thing I expected was that I’d be giving it an 8 out of 10 a couple months later. Just looked like another Dreamworks movie about some funky animals in 3-D that my 7-year-old brother would probably lose his LEGOs over and I could care less about”

    – Haha. Even after your review, I still feel this way. I don’t think I’ll ever watch a DreamWorks animation again.

  5. April 5, 2010 12:40 pm

    Who had the slightest clue this movie would be so damn good?

    I want a Toothless dragon myself.

    So it was really worth the 3D? I feel shamed I skipped it in 3D. I’m just so tired of the concept. Perhaps I’ll rock a second viewing. I really did like it enough to see it twice.

Trackbacks

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