Movie: ‘How To Train Your Dragon’
In Theaters: March 26, 2010
Director: Dean DeBlois
MPAA Rating: PG for sequences of intense action and some scary images, and brief mild language
Film Gecko Rating:
I really like ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ and wouldn’t mind seeing it again. It’s based on the book by Cressida Cresswell, and tells the story of a young Viking teen named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), who lives on the Viking island of Berk. Everyone is taught how to slay dragons there, but Hiccup isn’t really the dragon-slaying type. He’s more of an engineer-inventor, and his room is papered with all sorts of drawings and diagrams.
None of this goes over well with his father, the burly clan chief Stoic the Vast (Gerard Butler) who’s disappointed that his son isn’t into killing dragons. But one night during an attack, Hiccup does manage to bring down the most mysterious dragon of all – the Night Fury – but when he finds the creature where it fell in the wild, he can’t bring himself to kill it. So he cuts it loose.
Meanwhile, Hiccup is accepted into the dragon-killing training program with other new recruits — arrogant Snotlout (Jonah Hill), bickering twins Ruffnut (T.J. Miller) and Tuffnut (Kristen Wiig), shy Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), and the beautifully brave Astrid (America Ferrera). As the training moves forward, Hiccup becomes pals with his new pet dragon, which he names Toothless, and also uses his skills to tame all the dragons the recruits are supposed to face.
You can see where this is going. You’ve got the old guard Vikings who believe all dragons are bad and must be killed. And then you’ve got Hiccup and his new way of thinking – that dragons are, in fact, ok, and maybe everyone can live peacefully together in the same space. And there are other themes woven into the story, as well – living up to your father’s expectations, coming of age, trying something new and different, and gently nudging people with the idea that sometimes new things are just fine.
This movie is offered in both 3D and 2D formats. I saw the 3D version, and it’s well worth the little extra cost for glasses and the annoyance of having to wear them. The visuals and graphics in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ are stunning, especially when Hiccup is flying around the colorful seas and islands with Toothless. The animation is just gorgeous.
The players are all spot on in their characterizations. Jay Baruchel voices Hiccup as a forward-thinking kid with a self-deprecating sense of humor. America Ferrera’s authoritative voice makes her perfect for the role of brave Astrid, and the Scottish brogues of Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson are always a joy to hear.
Images: DreamWorks Animation/Paramount Pictures