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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON

An animated family fantasy film released by Dreamworks.

< read all 26 reviews

MAY Well Become the BEST Animated Movie of 2010!! ....it's NO Son of a "HALF-Troll"..

  • Mar 27, 2010
Rating:
+5
Dreamworks animation has often been regarded as the “Poor man’s Pixar” since its animated films are more or less a hit or miss. Well, after the sleeper hit "Monsters Vs. Aliens", the company is once again poised to redeem itself with “How To Train Your Dragon” which is based on the book with the same name. This latest film directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois has enough thought-provoking morale themes, stunning animation, as well as an invaluable lesson for youngsters. I’ll get right to the point; Dreamworks may have burned Pixar’s latest offerings to a crisp this time around. The creators of the overrated “UP” should thank the movie gods that this movie was never released last year otherwise, it may have never have won “Best Animated Feature“ in the recent Oscars. (Shrek bested Pixar's contribution that year methinks)
 
Berk is a village of Vikings that is repeatedly under siege by different types of dragons. Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) is the leader of this village and he means to defend his domain against the dragons. His son Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a scrawny embarrassment who wants to win the approval of his brethren as well as his father’s, and earn the name "Viking". Hiccup may well be seen as a weakling, but he intends to overcome his frail frame by inventions. One evening, by a stroke of luck Hiccup downs the most feared dragon which the Vikings call “Night Fury”; seen as a dragon birthed in lightning (references to Thor abound) by one of his inventions. Wounded, the dragon becomes trapped in a canyon unable to fly out. Surprisingly, the two begin an uneasy friendship that may change the way Dragons are seen in the eyes of the Vikings as Hiccup calls the ebony dragon “Toothless”. 

              A scene from the film "How to Train Your Dragon."

               Gerard Butler voices Chief Stoick the Vast and Craig Ferguson voices Gobber in "How to Train Your Dragon 3D."

              Gerard Butler voices Chief Stoick the Vast in "How to Train Your Dragon 3D."
 
Due to his experiences with “Toothless”, Hiccup also becomes a popular student in the school of dragon fighting much to the surprise of his classmates that includes a young warrior girl named Astrid (America Ferrera). But things become more complicated when Stoick becomes obsessed in finding the nest of the dragons and would stop at nothing in annihilating the race of dragons. But the dragons have a reason why they lay siege on the livestock of the Vikings…a very BIG reason.
 
“How To Train a Dragon” is an animated film that supersedes all expectations seeing as the viewing public have this ‘brainwashed’ state that Pixar is the giant of animation. I thought the movie was very creative in bringing us to this world that is filled with dragons and Vikings, of mysticism, courage and determination. The animation is stellar, as the movements are so fluid that the last time I saw animation this polished and smooth was when I saw “Final Fantasy Advent Children” and “The Incredibles”. The scenes of the dragon-riding flights were just amazing and very impressive. 

                      Kristen Wiig voices Ruffnut, Jonah Hill voices Snotlout, America Ferrera voices Astrid, Christopher Mintz-Plasse voices Fishlegs and T.J. Miller voices Tuffnut in "How to Train Your Dragon 3D."

                      America Ferrera voices Astrid and Jay Baruchel voices Hiccup in "How to Train Your Dragon."

                     Craig Ferguson voices Gobber, Jonah Hill voices Snotlout, Kristen Wiig voices Ruffnut, America Ferrera voices Astrid, T.J. Miller voices Tuffnut, Christopher Mintz-Plasse voices Fishlegs in "How to Train Your Dragon."
 
The dragons in the film are also given different personalities as we see them with their own different powers and abilities. Their hide also has different qualities and textures, and yet, the dragons have similar defining qualities much like dogs have a common trait; as all dragons like having a certain area of their bodies scratched, they don’t like eel and they become distracted with a small bright object. This was a way for the film to establish its groundwork in the dragon’s development as something that shares animal qualities that we are familiar with. This was necessary to bring forth the connection needed for the viewer to care about the movie.
 
I’ve mentioned that the movie has enough themes of morality to make the adult viewer enticed and this is so true. The film has several themes of tolerance and understanding that would make the adult viewer enthralled. The dragons are misunderstood in this film, and the movie fleshes out that very human characteristic of fearing what they do not understand. It also throws in the powerful message of working in unison is the most effective way to solve a huge problem. Overcoming one’s fear is necessary to achieve greatness and to work hard to attain one’s goals. For the youngsters, the film brings forth the theme of acceptance and to respect one’s parents. This theme was brought forth by the relationship between Hiccup and his father. While having strong themes of family and the need to belong, the film also preaches about individuality and that it is ok to be different; after all being ‘uncommon’ usually leads to being the ‘first’ to achieve something. 

               America Ferrera voices Astrid and Jay Baruchel voices Hiccup in "How to Train Your Dragon."

              America Ferrera voices Astrid in "How to Train Your Dragon."
 
The film does have some differences from the book but none that I thought hampered the movie at any great lengths. The characters in “How to Train Your Dragon” are also well-drawn out. Stoick has strong references to the Norse God of Thunder (red beard and hair, hammer in hand with a huge belt) and was marvelously played by Gerard Butler. I liked “Gobber the Belch” (voiced by Craig Ferguson) who teaches “Dragon Slaying” and provides the needed ‘history’ of the Vikings and the dragons seeing as he is missing one hand and a leg. Hiccup and Astrid develop a friendship that changes the relationship between Hiccup and Fishlegs in the book, as Astrid becomes Hiccups closest confidant.
 
The film’s direction is full of energetic momentum, light-hearted good humor and the pace is kept at a pace that is just so brisk to keep the viewer anticipating the next great scene. This is what I really liked about the film, it manages to have a soul while having the popcorn qualities that makes mainstream movies successful. The film’s music and dialogue just complements the film’s tone and mood and I cannot complain. However, the film isn’t perfect, the film borrows some characteristics from “Dragon Riders”. True, some of the film’s elements are derivative of other successful movies (son looking for father’s approval, betrayal of one’s brethren and so forth) but those devices were developed well into the movie’s main premise.
 
“How to Train Your Dragon” may just become the best animated success to hail from Hollywood this year although it is too soon to speculate with
" Toy Story 3" and "Shrek the Final Chapter" in the horizon; but the film is now ahead of the pack. The film has all the qualities I look for in an animated film for all ages; a great backdrop (world of Vikings), action and thought-provoking moral themes, light-hearted humor, surprises and enough ‘cutesy’ devices to satisfy viewers of all ages and gender. The last time I felt this much satisfaction and entertainment from an animated movie usually comes from Japanese anime, so imagine my surprise to feel this way about American animation.
 
Dreamworks has scored a homerun with “How To Train Your Dragon”…now let’s hope they can keep up the pace since Pixar needs competition here in the U.S.. After all competition keeps everyone sharp, ambitious and creative; this way, fresh ideas can keep flowing.
 
Highest Possible Recommendation!!
[4 ½ Stars]

HYPE LEVEL: Moderate. The Hype is very acceptable compared to the Hype Pixar films are expected to fulfill. This Film may well become the 'sleeper' animated hit of 2010.

 
 
                    
4 ½ Stars: MAY Well Become the BEST Animated Movie of 2010!! ....it's NO Son of a 4 ½ Stars: MAY Well Become the BEST Animated Movie of 2010!! ....it's NO Son of a 4 ½ Stars: MAY Well Become the BEST Animated Movie of 2010!! ....it's NO Son of a 4 ½ Stars: MAY Well Become the BEST Animated Movie of 2010!! ....it's NO Son of a

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June 22, 2010
LOL! In reading this again, I realized that I did read it the first time you posted it! I just never gave you the props for it. I was like...this sounds familiar, lol! Sorry about that, William. Great job on the review. Sealed the deal for me. I'm definitely going to see this one in the near future. :)
June 23, 2010
This one is a can't miss for sure! No wonder I never saw your good looks around here before, you forgot about me :) I would have to say that I liked this as much as I liked TS3. Actually, maybe I liked this more just by a tad, because I love DRAGONS. LOL! wait...toys or dragons...argghh!! I am so confused.
June 23, 2010
Aw! I could never forget about you. I would say that leaving a comment slipped my mind in my old age, lol! I would like this one more than TS3 I bet because I love dragons. :)
June 27, 2010
he-heh. I do that every so often myself. Btw, I posted a review for TS3--wonder which one will win Best Animated Feature in the coming Oscars?
June 28, 2010
Yeah, sometimes I just rate a review up without leaving a comment because I'm too far behind in the reading. What other animated films are up for the Oscars?
June 29, 2010
well, this year I predict that it will be tight between this and Toy Story 3. By the way, give me a holler when you post something new--I think my plate will be real full the next few days.
June 29, 2010
I hope "How to Train Your Dragon" wins! :D

You want me to let you know when I write any new reviews or just film ones? I'm working on a couple of book and film ones; I'm not sure which ones will be finished first.
June 29, 2010
ANY review.... :) love your writing. Oh, I am finishing off a book for your community! I'll probably review it before the week is over.
June 29, 2010
LOL! Ok, I will try and remember that. I don't usually advertise for people to read my reviews. I figure if they are following me, they will get the updates. Otherwise, they will just have to discover me in the mix, lol! Ooo! Can't wait to read your book review! Let me know when it's up; otherwise, I should get a notification about it too!
 
April 07, 2010
Dude I want to see this os bad, I should have went.
June 27, 2010
seen this yet?
 
March 31, 2010
I think I'll take the boys to see this if I get the chance. I know Benji'll trip out over it.
April 01, 2010
wonderful! You still have your giftcard? so cool....
April 02, 2010
Yeah I've still got it. I'm afraid to use it up for fear something good will come up and I'll be out of luck!
 
March 30, 2010
Another +5 review from Woopak? Geez! Sounds great and what cutesy animation, too. How have I not heard about it yet? Does indeed sound like it's a sleeper hit. Thanks for the heads up on this!
March 31, 2010
I know...I've been so stingy with the 5 (but a 4.5 is real close) that I feel like...I've been lucky with my movie picks the past few weeks. I think it would be safe to say that this movie has enough action, drama, humor and CUTESY devices to satisfy everyone! I was impressed and you know it takes a lot to impress me ;-)
 
March 28, 2010
Fantastic critique! I have been interested in this since the first preview (the makers of Shrek rarely steer me wrong). I'm so behind on these animated flicks (although I did managed to sneak Up into my schedule). This one sounds really tight though, thanks for the heads up and again, great work!
March 31, 2010
Thanks, Jason! I think this would be definitely for you, my friend. IMHO this blows UP out of the water. You will like this one for sure and when the end credits rolled, the audience gave the movie a very warm applause.
 
March 28, 2010
I had no intention of seeing this film. I guess I'm going to have to reconsider now. You sold me.
March 28, 2010
You'll enjoy this movie with your son for sure! The kids in the theater were well-behaved because they were enthralled.
 
March 28, 2010
I'll be seeing this within the week. It looks like Dreamworks finally found a film worthy to take on Pixar!
March 28, 2010
They always had the tools ever since Shrek, but they got cocky and careless by imitating some of Pixar's formula; by trying to be like 'flawed' Pixar'. Pixar after all had brainwashed everyone that all their movie are good but most of them are mediocre.
March 28, 2010
I like most of Pixar's films, although "Cars", "Wall-E", and "Up" were disappointing.
March 28, 2010
Now that I think about it, both of studios are trying to capitalize on the genre; making movies more for profit than creativity. Before their movies were spaced out (so we weren't jaded) now they come out like three a year. The quality of Pixar movies have gone down after they came out with movies after movies...
March 28, 2010
Pixar only does about one movie per year, but they've only done about two or three good movies since 2003.
March 28, 2010
I know...but look at the time of releases between Toy Story and Monsters INC. and Finding Nemo...then The Incredibles right after... I hope the new Shrek doesn't suck, it did look promising.
March 28, 2010
I loved "The Incredibles"! And you're forgetting that "A Bug's Life" and "Toy Story 2" came out between "Toy Story" and Monsters, Inc.". They've always been industrious and quick to make a profit. It's just that now they resort to predictable formulas and commercialism. Plus they are being given to much critical praise for their films and too much success has gone to their heads.
March 28, 2010
oh yeh..I forgot those. I also liked Dreamworks' ANTZ. You're right, believing your own hype can make one lazy for sure. Maybe I should write a review on this...quality over quantity!
March 28, 2010
You'll end up cursing all of Hollywood if you do a write-up on that. And if you're looking for something to write about, I'm still waiting for a review of Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns". LOL! See, I haven't forgotten about that one...
March 28, 2010
actually I'll be writing a very special piece real soon...I already have the review in my head but I need the screenshots. Oh, I told Trashie that my review for The Dark Knight Returns will never see the light of day unless he was founder of the community....but he did try (he just got beat to it) . So I'll write one that I know you'll love...
March 28, 2010
You could still post a review for "DK" in the Cafe Libri community. As for this new review that I'll love, you may need to elaborate...
March 28, 2010
I can't elaborate here because the great idea may get stolen...I'll e-mail you later...DK will hit the Libri community for sure but before that, I need to review something else of Frank Miller's in the Libri community.
March 28, 2010
His Daredevil/Elektra stuff or "Sin City"?
March 28, 2010
I am not saying... ;-P
March 28, 2010
Well, at least tell me if it has to do with one of my communities. Please! ; )
March 28, 2010
it's a book so no...but I am working on something for your fantasy community and your vampire community. I am just torn on where to put the review since I don't consider it a vampire movie...
March 28, 2010
Okay, what the heck are you talking about? A review for the Vampire Historians that's a film, but not a vampire movie... I'm now officially confused. LOL! How's the designs on the picture coming?
March 28, 2010
ha ha! I am confused myself. I'll sit down tonight to do the rough sketches and layout--I'll scan them and send them over asap. Lilith is very easy for me since I love to draw the female form. It's funny you picture Lilith as Rosario Dawson while I picture her as either Zhang Ziyi or Kurotani Tomoka...LOL! I'm busy cleaning and cooking now since...I have to eat! LOL
March 28, 2010
Nah, Dawson is closest to what I picture as far as actresses go when it comes to Lilith. Probably because she has a similar physique to the Burney Relief, which has been thought to represent either Lilith or the goddess Ishtar. Altough, Zhang Ziyi would make a sexy nukekubi. LOL! I'm not familiar with Kurotani Tomoka I'm afraid. Who is she?
March 28, 2010
Kurotani is in Shinobi Heart Under Blade and I have a huge crush on her! Here're some of her modeling photos. She is so hot! I am hunting down an English Subtitled copy of TANNKA.
March 28, 2010
Okay, she's cute, but definitely doesn't look like Lilith.
March 28, 2010
imagine her in a black outfit with darker shadows in the eyes...with red lips and..never mind.
March 28, 2010
Wow, clearly you've given this a lot of thought. No wonder you haven't had the time to tackle that "Dark Knight Returns" review! ; )
March 28, 2010
shit. once a mood and inspiration hits me...nothings going to stop me. Good thing I haven't felt that 'pink' craze again LOL!
March 28, 2010
ok, I gotta go and get ready . I replied to your e-mail.
April 19, 2010
Well, I really loved this movie. I almost gave it a 5, but I didn't think that the story itself warranted it. Basically the movie take the entire plot of "Ratatouille" and tweaks it. They've got the misfit kid trying to fit in, in "Ratatouille" he was a wannabe cook who got help from a talking rat, in this he was a wannabe viking who got help from an injured dragon. I also really liked the voice cast, the animation, and the music. All in all, I think Dreamworks has finally risen up in the ranks of computer animation and Pixar should be worried.
April 19, 2010
I saw your quick tips...thanks! I can't really disagree with you that some elements were derivative but it sure made use of those in a way that was executed very well (near-flawless actually). Pixar needs some competition. Seen KUNG FU PANDA? Pretty good too. I think I should review it...
April 19, 2010
So far, the only DreamWorks animated films that I've seen and liked were "Over the Hedge", "Flushed Away", Antz" and then this. This was the best by far.
June 23, 2010
I dimly recall "Flushed Away" but I did love ANTZ.
 
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More How to Train Your Dragon reviews
review by . February 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     You can count on animated films to be good when live action films just aren't. While this is definitely a good thing to count on, some animated films are just bad, and yes, as bad as the live-action flicks are. This is not the case with Dreamworks Animation's first of three 2010 animated offerings. In fact, "How to Train Your Dragon" is the best thing that Dreamworks has had to offer since "Shrek". Yeah, they've come out with some pretty solid stuff from time …
review by . December 30, 2010
i hear so much hype about this movie, so i decide to see it. the animation was unbeliveable,i forgot i was watching a movie. i am really intrested about the movie, so i check out all the special features and all(i watched it on DVD) that, and all the effort into this movie, the hundreds of crew and cast, the animation, like i said, was great,it was fantastic. but i am looking forward to see some other great animation hits, so for right now, this is the best  9.5 out of 10 stars  4.5 …
review by . November 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
DreamWorks Builds its Masterpiece
   With a review title as ambitious as mine, some justification is definitely in order.  See unlike Pixar (with a little help of the Disney promotion machine), animated hits with the potential to become pop culture icons aren’t a given for DreamWorks.  Sure they’ve had Shrek but ask anyone and you’ll discover that 4 feature films and a variety of spin-offs have milked the franchise past its worth.  Kung-Fu Panda came next with signs of brilliance.  …
review by . December 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Out from DreamWorks' animation studio is a tale based on two aggressive yet extinct species, dragons and Vikings. Interesting enough, How to Train Your Dragon strays away from stereotyping these two prolific breeds, giving them a fresh interpretation. Hiccup, the main protagonist (voiced by Jay Baruchel), is illustrated as the lanky outcast whose father is the leader of the violent pack of dragon hunters. In addition, his dragon counterpart, Toothless, isn't the barbaric creature that Vikings …
review by . April 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Dragons have had a pretty checkered history on the silver screen. There have been some good efforts (Reign of Fire, Dragonslayer, Dragonheart) and some terrible misfires (Dungeons and Dragons, Eragon) over the years, but all have fallen short of delivering the definitive dragon movie. The rather clunkily titled How to Train Your Dragon, directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, may well be that movie.      Since its formation in 1994, Dreamworks has always been standing in …
review by . March 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   We always seem to go through phases when it comes to popular genres and topics of entertainment.  We have the year of 3D (which I'm still debating as to whether I should actually be excited or not), the year of remakes (that has become YEARS and I wish would seriously end), the year of cheapquels/sequels (which some films have promise and others are straight to DVD quality), and of course the year of the "underdog"/geek(which is by far my favorite).  3 months …
review by . April 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Dreamworks has always been dominant in the the animation field, but that has never made their movies that were great.  They had Shrek, which was very clever and very unique and original.  But most times when watching a Dreamworks production you're hit with a lot of pop culture references and whatnot.  The exception being Kung Fu Panda which showed a different side of Dreamworks.  How to Train Your Dragon merely perfects what Kung Fu Panda began.  It focuses on being a heartfelt …
review by . April 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
  Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a young boy living on an island with the great vikings. He explains in the beginning that it is a very old land, but with new houses. This is because their houses are constantly being burned down by the firery breath of dragons, who they are always in battle with. Hiccup is the son of a high in rank viking Stoick (Gerard Butler) who is ashamed of his son because he fails to be the dragon fighter he is supposed to. So to prove himself Hiccup shoots down a never before …
review by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
How to Train a Dragon is a coming of age movie. The usual stuff. The overbearing father, with the son who embarrasses him because of his lack of mini-me-ness, tries to force said son to man-it-up and get on with it already. Son does the one thing he can think of to impress his whole village but screws even that up. But while doing so he discovers truth that will change everything his dad, his whole village, his whole world believed. Add humor, fighting, action and a few scary moments, make it animated, …
review by . August 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I'm a middle aged adult, but you'll never hear me whine, 'We didn't have 3D when I was a kid!' Well, part of the deal is being a middle aged adult nowadays means you can keep making up for lost time. Oh, yes, we had 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,' 'Oliver!' and the first release of 'Star Wars,' but kids nowadays have never had it so good. Call it middle life crisis. Call me the middle-aged man who can't grow up, or call me just genuinely honest, but I was thoroughly satisfied with this …
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William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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Wiki

How to Train Your Dragon is a CGI animated fantasy film by DreamWorks Animation loosely based on the 2003 book of the same title. The film stars the voice talents of Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, and David Tennant. The story takes place in a mythical Viking world where a young Viking teenager named "Hiccup" aspires to follow his tribe's tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. After finally capturing his first dragon, and with his chance at finally gaining the tribe's acceptance, he finds that he no longer has the desire to kill it and instead befriends it. The film was released March 26, 2010.

Poster art for "How to Train Your Dragon: An IMAX 3D Experience."

Characters

  • Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is the main character in these books. He is an unusual Viking who thinks before he does anything. He has red hair and is very thin. He is one of the only people ever to understand and be able to speak Dragonese, the language of the dragons. He is abnormally clever for a Viking, and a good swordfighter. His hunting dragon isToothless, a small dragon that is a common or garden dragon. Hiccup's best friend Fishlegs claims that Hiccup's dragon is a Toothless Daydream, a mythical and rare type of dragon, to fool Hiccup's father Stoick the Vast and those around him.
  • Toothless is Hiccup's hunting dragon. Just like his name suggests, he has no teeth. He used to have one tooth, but it fell out in a ...
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Details

Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: March 26, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 98 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks
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