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Worth A Look: 31.25%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 3.13%

2 reviews, 20 user ratings

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How to Train Your Dragon
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by William Goss

"Tipping the Scales"
4 stars

DreamWorks Animation is in a peculiar place so far as non-Pixar studios go, because when they’re not cranking out proudly disposable dross ('Shrek 4' comes out in May!), they’re steadily sharpening their storytelling skills with projects that turn out equally funny and sweet. I’m happy to report that their latest, 'How to Train Your Dragon,' ranks more on the clever and nimble 'Over the Hedge'/'Kung Fu Panda' end of the spectrum than on the slapdash 'Shark Tale' side of things.

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is the scrawniest Viking around, meaning he’s about the least help when it comes to fending off dragons during their periodic attacks on his village. Even when his crossbow-like invention does nab a dragon, no one’s around to see it – only the destruction left in the wake of Hiccup’s attempt. He ventures off to find the captured beast and discovers two things: it can’t fly due to a tail injury likely caused by Hiccup’s device, and he can’t kill it as a good Viking should. Soon, Hiccup befriends the dragon that he dubs Toothless, helping it fly in secret, helping himself show off in public (how else would a pipsqueak make it through dragon training?) and escalating matters into an inevitable third-act conflict of loyalties.

We get your standard-issue daddy issues (Stoick, voiced heartily by Gerard Butler, raises Hiccup alone and almost shamefully), not to mention your requisite love interest (Astrid, voiced by America Ferrara), and there’s nothing wrong with the messages of tolerance and understanding that work their way in, but where directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch) really soar is when it comes to conveying the visceral thrill of flight and the bond between boy and pet. The flying sequences are especially impressive in 3-D, adding not only depth but also weight to the experience; at one point when Hiccup slips off, leaving both he and Toothless in freefall, every similar scene in my memory told me that he’d be okay and yet I sat there, held truly rapt by the peril as I might not have been in 2-D or at home.

Beyond that, DeBlois, Sanders and their fellow screenwriters ease off on pop culture bits and potty humor (undies are mentioned twice, and a breastplate comes into play) and earn the sly symmetry of their happy ending. It’s that heart that DreamWorks sometimes skimps on, as most other animation arms do, but when it’s there, the morals and clichés slip away and the experience takes off – even without the glasses.

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originally posted: 03/27/10 03:11:27
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User Comments

4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
10/05/14 Haley S. I loved this movie! It was very unique and creative, and the animation was incredible. 5 stars
6/20/13 Charles Tatum Very good effort, funny and some great shots. 4 stars
7/21/12 Man Out Six Bucks Original story. Original characters. Something forgotten in the age of reboots. 5 stars
4/27/12 Lady Toothless more interesting then most recent real life leading men. Crazy. 5 stars
10/19/11 Magic The proof that Dreamworks can be an actual rival worthy of Pixar. 4 stars
6/14/11 Carol Miles Wonderful. Wonderful. Only complaint...not enough TOOTHLESS. 5 stars
5/15/11 millersxing great emotional lift from a visually impressive, if not spectacular film 5 stars
4/06/11 Bobster An absolutely wonderful movie. Great essence, great characters, great everything! 5 stars
2/23/11 Ionicera If every movie was like this, there would be no more crappy movies 5 stars
11/04/10 Freddy As far as evocative animation goes, leaves Avatar for dead 4 stars
10/17/10 Julie Lutz My kids loved this movie and so did I good entertainment!! 5 stars
10/14/10 ES This was really just so good 5 stars
9/24/10 Dr.Lao Proves that Dreamworks can make a decent movie since the original Shrek 4 stars
8/04/10 Lana Excellent, exciting, funny, just good clean fun! 5 stars
5/23/10 scotty So far...THE BEST FILM OF 2010!! I loved it 5 stars
4/25/10 gordon Purcell Excellent film--I saw it in 2D, with lights on and surrounded by loud autistic kids, and st 5 stars
4/14/10 Brooklyn As a pregnant teen, I forgot all pains and fatness while watching this! Awesome!!!! Love it 5 stars
4/05/10 Stanley Thai HTTYD is the first great movie of 2010, and it deserves the title rightfully so. 5 stars
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  26-Mar-2010 (PG)
  DVD: 15-Oct-2010


  DVD: 15-Oct-2010

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