Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Action,Adventure How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

NOTE: If you can see this movie in IMAX 3D, it is well worth it.

Wow, this is definitely the surprise hit of the year, at least for me. I’m sure some, or a lot, of people when in with high expectations, I went in with low and got what is easily the best movie so far this year. Leave it to a kids movie to completely blow me away and be more than likely the biggest spectacle of the year (maybe other than Inception). I was literally forced to go see this and ended up loving it, along with the people who forced me to go.

How to Train Your Dragon is this years Avatar, but better. That is a very bold statement I know but I don’t care because it is true. Avatar placed at number 9 on my top 10 of 2009, so I guarantee a spot for HTTYD on my 2010 list. Going in I heard it was a lot like Avatar; Amazing visuals, not the most original story, a true spectacle, and just outstanding, all are true, but even better. Leave it to a kids movie to completely blow my mind away, which it did.

HTTYD is about a young Viking named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel who was in this years She’s Out of My League) who lives in the island of Berk which is a boring town other than the fact there are Dragons. The Vikings are constantly in battle with Dragons but Hiccup is too weak and small to be apart of the battle. But one day (the opening scene) Hiccup decides to be apart of the fight and downs a nightfurry, the most mysterious type of dragon that no one has ever seen. The next day when he goes to kill it he can’t build the stomach, but instead he develops a friendship with the dragon, which he names Toothless. Slowly the story unravels and we have some twist and turns and obstacles but the central story is about a boy and his dragon.

The direction is one of the best directed movies in a long time. That is truly saying something since you usually don’t talk about direction, because there usually isn’t any in animated movies, but here, it is beautiful. Maybe I should say the cinematography but either way, it’s outstanding. It was a lot like Avatar, but even better, more noticeable, which is definitely a good thing. It has some of the most dazzling and exciting action sequences in recent memory, and most of that was due to the direction. The camera would be swift and merciless without doing the [annoying] shaky cam. I am very anti-shaky cam, so I was very glad when this had none.

There was one scene in particular where Hiccup was riding Toothless and they were going in a full on circle, meaning upside down and right side up while in the clouds, and the camera rotated with it, making the illusion they are always the right way. I remember I literally started to tilt my head trying to follow, I felt like an idiot once I realized I did that. The point is that it actually made me try and follow it. It was easily one of the coolest shots in movie history, and could only be pulled off by animation. I give big props to the directors; Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders. Both did Lilo & Stitch (2002), which is also pretty good.

The voice acting is outstanding! I easily could place the voices to the characters, which is always what you should go for, and this nails it perfectly. Jay Baruchel is always… annoying to me. It is apart of the Apatow group, and he really never has a big part, and he just seems unnecessary, but now I’m glad he was apart of that, got famous, and now did this simple masterpiece. His voice does sound like of a young child going through puberty (poor guy) but it has now benefited him in the most marvelous way. He made the character more delightful and more lively, but he still wasn’t the best.

Gerard Butler, who I hate, does fantastic. He plays Hiccup’s dad who coincidently is the mayor of the island. Gerard goes back to his 300 days where he is just a macho man who can take on anything, and his voice portrays that perfectly. Craig Ferguson plays Gobber the Viking trainer, and he adds a lot of humor to it. America Ferrera plays Hiccup’s love interest, who has no interest in Hiccup, and she is even more of a Viking than Hiccup. The cast goes on with great voice performances from Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, and Kristin Wiig. Just all around great voice acting.

The script was also written by the directors based off a children’s book by Cressida Cowell. The script features everything a children’s movie should have, and more. It has charm, funny and entertaining characters, emotion that isn’t cheesy (always), excitement, development, dilemmas, and just all around entertainment for everyone. This is the perfect kind of movie that anyone can watch and simply love, like I. There are some complex plots, like Hiccup is in Viking training but he no longer has a desire to hurt dragons, his father is looking to kill every dragon, and just the war between Viking and dragon itself. It is just a grade A script all around.

The visual effects are just stunning, to say the least. Everything looks beautiful, especially in IMAX. From the simple details of a town, to the complexities of the characters and dragons. Also all the landscapes are just draw-dropping and leaves you in awe.

This is better than Up in my opinion and just about the same as last years Fantastic Mr. Fox. I think this is a movie everyone can enjoy and if you get the opportunity see it in IMAX, it just adds to the effect. This is definitely the best movie so far this year.

***** (out of *****); See It

1 thought on “How to Train Your Dragon (2010)”

  1. I have to agree that this movie was simply charming. I’ve seen it three times in the theater and loved it more each time. As you said it has a great story and they did a great job on the directing and editing. It moved quickly yet you don’t feel like you’ve been rushed through the emotion this movie provides.

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