HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is an animated film from DreamWorks. I thought it was extremely well done, with a very original story combined with superb craftsmanship.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is set in a Viking village which must constantly rebuild due to fiery dragon attacks. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a misfit in this little town of hardy warriors, led by his father Stoick (Gerard Butler). Hiccup wants to slay dragons like everyone else, but he lacks the brawn.
Then one day Hiccup chances upon an injured dragon, and after initially threatening one another, the pair eventually become friends. As Hiccup "trains" Toothless, the dragon, he learns that maybe the dragons really just want friendship, food, and being rubbed in the right places. Hiccup takes what he's learned to the village dragon fighting school, where he amazes everyone with his unorthodox methods of dragon taming.
Hiccup learns that the dragons also need help with the biggest monster dragon of all; they must feed it constantly or they'll be eaten too.
This is a beautifully rendered film with great visual appeal. The animation of Toothless is superb, embuing him with animal-like dog and cat behavior at times, while always keeping him one hundred percent fire-breathing dragon.
I was particularly taken by the lovely visuals in the final sequence, with the Viking village transformed into a veritable dragon Disneyland.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is one of a handful of non-Disney animated films which I've found worthwhile in recent years. It joins my "recommended animation" list along with other non-Disney movies such as ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (2011), RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (2012), THE LEGO MOVIE (2014), and THE PEANUTS MOVIE (2015).
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, whose work also includes Disney's LILO AND STITCH (2002). It runs 98 minutes.
Additional voices are provided by America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Kristin Wiig, David Tennant, and Jonah Hill.
The top-drawer musical score was by John Powell, who also scored two of the films we watched last evening, THE ITALIAN JOB (2003) and THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002), as well as the ensuing Bourne films. He also worked on one of my favorite action movies of recent years, MR. AND MRS. SMITH (2005).
Parental Advisory: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is rated PG for intense action sequences and mild language.
The movie inspired a sequel, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (2014), with a third film coming in 2018.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is available on DVD and Blu-ray. It can be streamed on Amazon. The trailer is on YouTube.