Customer Review

402 of 429 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Boy & His Dragon, March 28, 2010
This review is from: How to Train Your Dragon (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Blu-ray)
How to Train Your Dragon is the latest from the stable of Dreamworks, but apart from the animation style, you'd never know it.

How to Train Your Dragon is the story of Hiccup, a Viking who feels out of place since he's not a fan of killing the dragons the Viking's world so revolves around in. But, when Hiccup captures the rare Night Fury Dragon and inadvertently injures it, the two become fast friends and attempt to bridge the gap of understanding between the Dragons & the Vikings. It may not sound like much, but things are deeper than they may seem here, and they are 3 reasons you need to go out and watch this movie right now.

1: Casting: Having seen Jay Baruchel as a geeky character in the film Fanboys, this film only solidifies for me the fact that Baruchel makes cliched characters feel real & brings traits out they wouldn't have otherwise, and this fact is very evident here. The same is true for the rest of the cast. In Shrek 2, Larry King was wasted in a long-running and painful transvestite joke. Here, Craig Ferguson is perfect in the role not only because he's Scottish, but he brings the appropriate mix of eccentric leadership needed for the right-hand man of Gerard Butler's character, who is also well cast. The same goes for the rest of the cast with the possible exception of Jonah Hill, who always feels out of place in almost every movie he's in.

2: Visual Effects & 3D: Now this may because the Viking environment hasn't been portrayed much on screen before, but the film is stunningly beautiful, and that's only reinforced by the 3D which is used better than Avatar in some cases, especially in the case of the flying sequences.

3: The Emotion/Uniqueness of the Film in Animation Today: The story gives way to many emotional moments in the film, all of which are played perfectly. And, not to give too much away, but at the end of the film something happens the to main character that was not only shocking to me, since I'd never seen something of its magnitude done in animation period, but to me it was also one of the most tear-jerking moments, especially in relation to what it does to the relationships & similarities between Hiccup & his dragon in the movie.

Overall, how do you train your dragon? With charm, love, understanding, amazing visuals & stunning 3-D flying sequences. This film ranks up there with Pixar's best, and if I had any criticism towards the movie, it would be the fact that it's made by Dreamworks, and with their quality lately, you don't have high expectation entering this film. Nevertheless, How to Train Your Dragon gets a fire-breathing 5 out of 5.
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Comments

Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 13, 2010 12:27:47 PM PDT
Totally agree. I took my kids to see this and I had low expectations. After leaving the movie theater, I felt it was one of the best animated movies in a while.

Posted on Apr 24, 2010 12:18:01 PM PDT
I.L. says:
I just watched this movie in the theatre last night. I can relate to the 3rd reason you posted, and I am pretty sure I know what moment you are talking about in regards to Hiccup - that was the only part of the movie that made me cry. It was shocking to me as well, not something I would expect in an animated movie, like you stated - very emotionally moving. What a wonderful movie!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2010 8:03:07 PM PDT
Flap Jackson says:
I completely agree.

Posted on Jun 3, 2010 11:46:56 AM PDT
Straddle1985 says:
I can also relate to your points, especially the third one.

Posted on Jun 8, 2010 2:13:36 PM PDT
C. Mitchell says:
Amen. I love your points and I thought I'd add a few of my own.

My wife, daughter (9) and I have seen it 3 times - 1 in 2D and 2x in 3D. While the 3D experience in this film is just incredible, the 2D loses none of the heart. (So don't worry about the DVD being a disappointment)

OTHER READERS - BEFORE YOU READ THIS ***IT CONTAINS SPOILERS*** (I'll highlight those paragraphs with a ****

In the first 10 minutes of my first viewing, (BTW we were the ONLY ones in the theater. Seriously - just the 3 of us.) Anyway, I watched Hiccup's face. I leaned toward my wife and said "Look at the nuances they gave his expressions! That S.O.B. is ACTING!!"

I can't say that I've ever seen any animated characters facial expressions possess the little detailed movements that we see in all the characters in HTTYD. It's subtle, which is what makes it so strong.

At this point I should mention one thing you missed...

THE SCORE!! One reason for that is that is perhaps that like the facial subtleties, it is completely unobtrusive, but critical to the impact of film. Well to be honest, I didn't pick up on it either. Between the 2nd and 3rd viewing of it I read a major critic's review that mentioned how powerful the score was. When I went the 3rd time, I paid attention to it and all I can say is at your next viewing check it out.

****One aspect that great films share are what is conveyed during key moments when there is no dialogue. The filmmakers rely solely on actors expressions, camera angles, and timing to convey information that each viewer processes at a purely emotional level. Of course the key scene between Toothless and Hiccup where their bond is cemented is one of the emotional highlights of the film. (Not to mention the scene that you refer to in point 3- I'll get back to that in a minute.) But one part that stands out for me is the montage when Toothless and Hiccup kidnap Astrid for that first flight. For example as they pass through the clouds into the starry night, what could have been a very cliched moment was elevated to a breathtaking scene simply by the music, the characters expressions and the rhythm of the cuts. We share the excitement of that experience with the 3 of them and even without the one comment from her we see a side of Astrid apart from the independent, highly competitive young woman. We see the emergence of the amazed girl who has the capacity to completely re-think how she sees the world. She isn't quite the same after that flight. Yes, I know it's not Shakespeare, and yes we're talking about an animated film that is geared toward kids, but that doesn't restrain a directors or writers ability to go a little beyond what adults might expect from the genre. It's up to the viewer to open their mind. The most powerful marketing ever is positive word of mouth. You cannot buy it, you cannot force it, you have to earn it, which is very hard. I think that is what brought this movie back from the brink. All that from just that one scene. Impressive film making. I love that stuff. (Back to Astrid for a moment-I expect Hiccup will earn more than his share of bruises as well as affection from her in the sequels.)

Back to that scene in point 3. I was very impressed by how they handled that. It added a balanced touch to the film that put it on solid ground. Given the quality of the film, I almost expected it and when it was revealed, it confirmed the quality for me

Other key elements:
****They spend no little amount of time emphasizing just how dangerous a Night Fury is. I was a bit concerned that the actual animal couldn't live up to the billing. Yet the way they shot that first encounter, you get a real sense of the physical power of this animal as well as it's intelligence. Just another example of the skill and quality.

In short - Great review, and I heartily agree.

Posted on Jun 25, 2010 4:16:39 PM PDT
diendrial says:
I love this movie. It's an emotional moral based movie that really gives you a good feeling to see it. I can't wait for the DVD so I can watch it whenever I want. You know a movie is good when the whole theater applauds at the end. That doesn't happen very often at a show!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2010 3:00:01 PM PDT
ari180 says:
Thank u so much for the *Spoilers* warning.
I wish every reviewer here (not to mention among the ostensible "pro's" out in the world) had similar smarts and courtesy.
I look forward to reading your review after I've seen the flick.

Posted on Aug 22, 2010 7:13:39 AM PDT
Rob Wilson says:
I don't know if you've realized this or not, but by the 3rd I watched this movie, I noticed something weird. In every single frame of the movie where Hiccup appears, is there no movement in his hair. There is so much detail in the movement to the point that even his hair moves. Another applaud is for when Hiccup and Toothless came out of the water,in the end. Hiccup's hair was still wet, in these days, studious pass that out, they wouldnt care if its supposed to be something or not. You're review is excellent.

Posted on Aug 27, 2010 6:45:01 AM PDT
I'm an adult (long-time adult) and I fell utterly in love with this movie. Waiting eagerly for the DVD. Many stories are about love, but many are unable to convince us that the feelings of one being for another are real. I too was shocked by the ending, but thought it brought the story to a moving and successful conclusion.

Posted on Nov 8, 2010 7:32:06 AM PST
Sketch says:
Hi,
Can you tell me, does the Bluray combo pack include a digital copy? Thank you.
Marc
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