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How to Train Your Dragon [DVD + Digital HD]
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|Contributor||Chris Sanders, Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Dean DeBlois|
|Runtime||1 hour and 38 minutes|
Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, and based on the book by Cressida Cowell, the action comedy tells the story of Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn't exactly fit in with his tribe's longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. Hiccup's world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges he and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
- Product Dimensions : 0.7 x 7.5 x 5.4 inches; 2.72 Ounces
- Item model number : 35220973
- Director : Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
- Media Format : NTSC, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 38 minutes
- Release date : March 1, 2016
- Actors : Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler
- Dubbed: : French, Spanish
- Subtitles: : English
- Language : Unknown (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Studio : Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
- ASIN : B019WMTXZO
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2011
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The story takes place during the Viking era and stars Hiccup, a small and skinny Viking son of a much bigger, manlier, and grander dragon-slaying father. Hiccup must compete with other kids his age in order to train to be dragon killers, yet this is the classic story of a kid who simply feels different from the others, and figures out a truth about the dragons that no one else knows - that they can live in a good peaceful coexistence. Hiccup stumbles upon a dragon himself, trains with him and soon learns many life lessons using his brain instead of his brawn in order to humble the dragons, in the hopes of proving all the others wrong.
The best thing about 'Dragon' is its attention to the characters - there is much time taken to build up the relationship between Hiccup and his black sheep dragon named Toothless. Lots of quiet moments are granted to us making this a very unique film about characters and how relationships grow despite cultural obstacles, really making this a parallel on society in a strange way. This is way different than the usual loud and obnoxious animated family films that rely way too much on impressing the audience with crazy special effects instead of giving them a good story. 'Dragon' does have much action and great effects on its own, but what makes this film work is that the effects are used to guide the story, not tell it. Hence, we get a great character story ALONG WITH all the great epic action to accompany it. 2 for 1, can't go wrong with it. 'Dragon' does not disappoint in all regards; it's definitely apparent the filmmakers put lots of effort into a well-told story as well as good special effects and animation. Moreover, we must understand that this story is not anything we haven't already seen before in a different setting, but the simplicity of the story and its reliance on character actions instead of constant monologues and dialogues granted by movies that simply talk too much and do very little.
Some people may be disappointed that the comedy aspect of this film isn't at the forefront. This is more of an action/adventure with some comedic elements simply SPRINKLED upon the film, but the movie is not made to be a comedy. The beauty here is that the story is so good, it doesn't ever matter to the viewer. You'll be too busy "whoah'ing to ever care to chuckle a cheap 'haha.' So no, 'Dragon' won't pull out any dumb and overused pop culture trendy lines in order to be loved by the latest Entertainment Weekly subscriber a la Shrek, nor will you find any sort of product placement nonsense. The filmmakers are here to give you an epic adventure, and on honing in on this goal it is then done incredibly well, you won't really care about anything else. The story may be simple, but since it's told so fantastically, you appreciate it anyhow.
This all leads up to an epic dragon battle finale which contains some of the best special effects editing and shot in recent animated film history, and I would have to say on a personal note that seeing action this intense and well directed is not something you'll probably find in any other family film out there. So if you're tired of just being fed little kiddie stories about cute animals walking around in colorful little worlds, check out 'Dragon' for some more intense action that dares to walk on a slightly grittier terrain. With a story full of dragons, Vikings and epic longships, you will not be disappointed.
On a technical side, and this is a pretty big point and one of the main reasons that make the Blu-ray copy of this film so appealing. That the film, in a nutshell, looks ABSOLUTELY IMMACULATE. The detail found on this Blu-ray transfer is simply stunning and jaw-droppingly GORGEOUS to any fan of High Definition video. Landscapes are clean and fully detailed, edges are sharp, colors are extravagant, smoke and light are eye-poppingly smooth, motion is flawless. Out of my collection of 130 Blu-ray titles, this would have to be on my top three in terms of visual detail, perhaps tying first place with Tron:Legacy, another epically gorgeous-looking film. I simply cannot say enough good things about how incredibly perfect the video detail looks on this blu-ray, and is way ahead of the visuals I saw in the movie theaters for this film.
Now to make matters even better, the film also contains one of the crispest, cleanest, most flawless audio soundtracks I've ever heard. The film runs on the latest TrueHD Dolby sound, and it is well noticed (even though other soundtracks that run on the same system don't sound nearly as good). Every sound is not only audible, from the voices to wind and fire battles, but every single sound is even, smooth and incredibly clean. The music in the film itself ever even borders on overtaking the film, and while the soundtrack score to the movie is great, the general volume level of it is kept at a respectable distance, guiding the film's entire feel, giving the viewer an almost subconscious trip into the world of the Vikings because it never boasts saying "hey, listen to me, i sound really good at the expense of the voices and other things." No, the soundtrack knows its place, as well as all the other sounds; nothing is ever too loud or too low, but there's other way to say it - it's juuuuust right. So just as the video is one of the absolute best I've ever seen, the audio soundtrack is one of the absolute best I've ever heard. It amazes me just how much work was put into making this blu-ray transfer this good.
In closing, in terms of blu-ray performance, I believe 'Dragon' should be playing on all retail store tv displays, if only to show the absolute maximum capacity of every television unit they are selling. Yup, it looks THAT good. My hat goes off to the transfer team to showing us exactly what the power of blu-ray can do. Hence a great story, great characters, and stunning presentation make this an easy pick for any movie fan.
Hiccup is a Viking who wants to be like his dragon-killing father Stoic. In the beginning, he actually shoots down the most feared dragon of them all, the Night Fury. No one believes Hiccup since no one saw him shoot the dragon down. But, they do see him run away from another dragon. Hiccup ends up running away. While running, Hiccup finds the Night Fury and instead of killing it, he decides to let it go due to feeling bad for it. The dragon almost goes for the kill, but in return for his release only roars in Hiccup's face. Apparently, the Night Fury lost a little bit of his tail wing from the crash during Hiccup's attempted capture. Scared, Hiccup runs home and his father decides to let him train to fight dragons, only Hiccup now feels that he shouldn't. Hiccup joins some other Vikings including his secret crush, Astrid, to begin training. Taught by his lifelong teacher Gobber, Hiccup doesn't do so well in dragon training. He finds the Night Fury again at a secret cliff. After a few close encounters, Hiccup becomes friendly toward the dragon and he begins to invent a prosthetic replacement for his injured tail as well as inventing a saddle to fly on him. He even names the dragon Toothless and later discovers secrets on how to get a dragon calm. He uses those 'secrets' in dragon training, soon stealing all the attention from Astrid, who soon grows jealous, especially after it is decided that Hiccup would get to kill a dragon. One day, Astrid follows him into the woods and discovers Toothless after having a pep talk with Hiccup. Toothless responds negatively to Astrid when he first sees her, and ends up taking her up on the saddle and ignoring Hiccup's commands, even making him say, "Thanks a lot, you useless reptile!" Astrid then apologizes during a sickening spin, and Toothless begins calmly flying. Astrid then begins to like the experience of flying on a dragon. But when she reminds Hiccup that he has to kill a dragon, Toothless overhears and flies at fast speed toward a secret location. They run into other dragons and go into a cave where they see the dragons tossing their food down into a fiery pit, which later is revealed to be a tyrannosaurus rex-type dragon who eats dragons that don't give it what it wants. Realizing they had found the "nest" that his father had been looking for, Hiccup tells Astrid not to tell anyone. The next day, Hiccup's father returns to the village to hear from his fellow Vikings that stayed behind that Hiccup had become top student in dragon training. Stoic is proud and gives Hiccup a Viking helmet made of his late mothers' breastplate. Hiccup comes up with an idea to convince everyone of the truth about dragons. The next day is the match where Hiccup is supposed to kill his first dragon, and he drops his weapons to try and be nice to it. But his father then gets enraged and the dragon gets spooked, causing the plan to fail. Hearing Hiccup's scream, Toothless comes into the field and fights the dragon off. However, he is later kidnapped by the Vikings and Stoic is angry at his son. Hiccup accidentally then reveals to him that he found the nest and Stoic goes out ignoring his son's warning. Stoic gathers a band of Vikings to go out with Toothless tied up on their boat. Stoic orders him to lead them to the nest. Toothless leads the Vikings to the nest, and meanwhile, Hiccup debates with himself on why he didn't kill Toothless in the first place. Astrid then reminds him that he was the first Viking to ride a dragon, and it makes him come up with an idea. Hiccup then convinces Snotlout, Fishlegs, Ruffnut, and Tuffnut about the truth on dragons. They then fly to the island where his father and fellow Vikings have already arrived, and they blast the cave open, scaring away all the dragons inside it. Following that, the tyrannosaurus dragon comes up from the ground enraged and tries to do away with the Vikings. Hiccup and company arrive and set up a plan to trap and kill the monster. Most of the Vikings are unsuccessful upon their jobs, but upon seeing that his son was right, Stoic saves him and Toothless while Hiccup was trying to save Toothless after the ship sunk from a fire blast by the dragon. Hiccup and Toothless fly into the sky and lure the tyrannosaurus dragon to fly up with it. After hiding from it in the sky, it fires at it into the mouth and causes it to fall. Unfortunately, during the blast to destroy it, Toothless crashes into the tail and causes him and Hiccup to fall into the flames. Toothless manages to rescue Hiccup alive, and his father finds them. He ends up losing one of his legs (though he isn't shown without his leg) and is replaced by a prosthetic leg invented by Gobber. Hiccup then wakes up to see his people riding dragons. Hiccup is convinced by his father that they have realized the truth about dragons. Hiccup continues flying with his dragon and even gets a kiss from Astrid, as he would say, "I could get used to it".
The animation is absolutely breathtaking, and it seems like the most realistic animation of 2010 (ranking alongside Tangled and Legend of the Guardians). The action and peril seen is somewhat intense, though it isn't necessarily violent and it flies clear of bloodshed. The character Toothless is more adorable than menacing, and a character design that resembles closely to Stitch from Lilo & Stitch (probably because How To Train Your Dragon was directed by Lilo & Stitch's directors Dean DuBlois and Chris Sanders). There's also a few funny parts, particularly with Snotlout, Fishlegs, and Ruffnut and Tuffnut. It's comedy relief from some of the most dramatic parts.
Getting into further detail, I do have to say that there may be a few dragons that might scare young children, particularly under the age of 6. But, the combination of great action and pure heart make this movie a winner. The best release yet for DreamWorks Animation, and I am honestly looking forward to a sequel.
Top reviews from other countries
How To Train Your Dragon is a funny and well made film about Vikings (why aren't there more Vikings in films? I loved Vikings as a kid) and their ongoing battles with the dragons in the area. The story is simple and follows Hiccup as he tries to gain the respect of his father, the village leader, but simple does not equate to dull. There is a blend of visual and verbal gags that took me a couple of watches to pick up on, so it does stand up to a rewatch or two.
I sometimes think animated characters tend to blend into one, with nothing really to separate them. Here, each character is an individual, all have distinct personalities and all of them are a joy. Even the dragons have great characterisation.
The animation is brilliant, with extra points going to the dragons, obviously, but, perhaps not so obviously, the backgrounds and scenery. When Toothless is flying, it's thrilling to watch.
I sat and watched this with a huge grin of my face and it's a film that can be enjoyed by anyone (no kids in my household, just four adults and we all liked it a lot). Even the fact that the adults were Scottish and the kids American (Scottish Vikings being a bit historically inaccurate, to say the least) didn't bother me all that much.
Finally, one last point, can I have my very own Toothless please? He's just adorable.
The story follows Hiccup who is the chief's son of the Vikings of Berk and who in all appearances is the most un-Viking person you can get. All he wants to do is impress his father who views him as an oddity and doesn't take him seriously but in the process he screws up and almost destroys the village (at the beginning of the movie) which is being attached by dragons. He makes it his mission to catch and kill a dragon but when the moment comes and he is face to face with one he just can't do it. Without realising it he has captured his soon to be best friend and companion.
Through a process of trust exercises he manages to get the dragon, whom he calls Toothless, to trust him and he soon discovers a whole bunch of things that are useful in taming dragons. Enter the plot twist - he must start dragon training with the Vikings, learning various techniques to trap, malee and kill dragons, which obviously makes him torn in two; learning about dragons and impressing his father.
I watched this film when it first came out and fell in love with Toothless, he is a brilliant character and you can genuinely see the friendship grow and develop throughout the film. I decided I had to buy my own copy and settled on the BluRay as it gives a much better picture and audio experience as there are picture details which are much more vivid and noticeable and the sound is much sharper and crisp too.
I would highly recommend this film to anyone, especially for families as this is a great family film which can be enjoyed by anyone.
Early in the film Hiccup scores a rare success and hits a fabled Night Fury dragon with one of his weapons. No one believes him and he ventures alone into the woods to find the downed dragon. When he finds it he tries to kill it but realises he can't when he sees the fear in its eyes. Thus begins an uneasy truce between them which develops into trust and friendship. He even names the dragon Toothless (it has retractable teeth). Hiccup uses his inventing skills to devise a prosthetic tail fin for the crippled dragon and together they take to the skies to perfect it. While the bond twixt boy and dragon strengthens the villagers are planning an expedition to the dragons' secret home island to exact revenge for all the raids.
The blacksmith is tasked with training the village youngsters in the art of dragon killing. Hiccup's father expressly orders Hiccup to participate in this. For a while this goes well as Hiccup has learned all the dragons' weak spots and uses his knowledge to pacify the training dragons without killing them. When Hiccup is rumbled by a suspicious Astrid, he and Toothless kidnap her and take her on an airborne joyride to convince her that dragons are inherently good. Whilst on this joyride they stumble into the flight path of a group of dragons and follow them to the dragons' home island. Once there they discover that the dragons are hostage to an enormous uber-dragon which forces them to raid other islands and bring food back to drop in its enormous gaping maw. Hiccup returns determined to show the villagers that the dragons could be their friends.
It all goes pear shaped when the villagers' expedition returns empty handed to find Hiccup is the village hero. Impressed, his father insists on watching the final trial but scuppers things when he alarms the dragon Hiccup is attempting to charm. This leads to a life or death confrontation between Hiccup and the angry dragon which ends when Toothless comes to the rescue and fights off the other dragon. Unfortunately Toothless is captured and tied to a boat to provide unwilling guidance to the dragons' island.
The film climaxes with the villagers' discovery of the dragons' island and a showdown with the giant dragon. Hiccup and the village youngsters ride in to the rescue on the training dragons and free Toothless from his bonds. Hiccup and Toothless go head to head with the giant dragon and defeat it although at some cost to Hiccup who does not escape unscathed. The film ends with the villagers and dragons living together in harmony and all's well with the world.
This is a great little film, competently animated to Dreamworks high (but not Pixar high) standards. Most of the animation effort seems to have gone into Toothless. A great design, he moves very convincingly and conveys just the right amount of expression given that his head isn't really designed for facial movement. By comparison the other dragons look like comedy cartoon dragons.
For me the best bits of the film are the scenes where boy and dragon learn about each other, bonding in the process. Toothless's behaviour is clearly modelled on domestic cats and dogs which makes him a very engaging character. Hiccup too is an engaging character. A nerd in a hero's world we sympathise with him because he is more like most of us than the rest of the villagers.
Bugbears are few with this film. Why do the Viking villagers all have Scottish accents? Why do their kids have American accents? Why are the dragons beholden to the big dragon when they could a) fly away or b) gang up and char broil him? But this is a kids' film and it's best not to ask too many questions and just sit back and enjoy.