Sunday, July 03, 2016

Tonight's Movie: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Today our oldest daughter introduced me to one of her favorite movies, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (2010).

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.


Blogger Kristina Dijan said...

I like this one a lot too, and agree about cute Toothless and especially about Powell's great score, I've listened to it often. His glorious epic music for X-Men 3 was one of the few redeeming things about that movie.

5:09 AM  
Blogger DKoren said...

This movie really surprised me. I had little interest from the original trailer, but when I finally saw it, it blew me away and I loved it. It wasn't at all what I was expecting and it had so much heart and lots of surprises in the plot. My entire family loves the second film even more (and it has an even better score) and have been itching all week for a re-watch. Maybe we'll put it on tonight! The animation is so beautiful in these, and I love Toothless.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

So glad you both know and enjoyed this movie, Kristina and Deb! The Powell score was a nice surprise, I kept thinking how much better it was than many scores I hear these days, and it was interesting to look at his credits and realize he worked on many movies I like. I didn't know his name before but I'll be watching for it now.

Great to hear that really enthusiastic response to the second film, Deb! It's funny, I crossed a lot of films off my viewing list this weekend yet they gave me an entirely new list of sequels to watch!

Best wishes,

8:57 AM  

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