Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weeks Too Late: How To Train Your Dragon

How To Train Your Dragon. Directed by Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders & written by William Davies, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders.

Preconceptions: It is a matter of public record that I have a surprising soft spot for children's movies. However, much of the CG animated crop lately has been dull, dull, dull. I don't expect great and complicated plotting in a movie meant for kids, but the movies don't have to be tiresome either. I was planning to give How To Train Your Dragon a miss, thinking it was going to be another Cars. Soon after I decided not to see it, I watched the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (I saw it the next morning, because Late, Late, is too late for me). He's in the movie and to plug it he said: "Do you know how How To Train Your Dragon is different from every other movie I've been in? IT'S AWESOME!" Well, this made me laugh, plus I trust that magnificent Scotsman, so I went to see it.

General Review: Don't go into this thinking it isn't a kids movie. It is. If you don't like em, you probably won't like this. It isn't one of those sophisticated flicks where kids can enjoy the main story and adults can enjoy the hidden snark. While it doesn't have the appeal to all age brackets (unless you're a weirdo that sits in the back of the theater clapping your hands and laughing at children's movies-certainly not like me) it is deeply adorable.

If you had told me three weeks ago that that the CG kid's movie would have better monsters (and fewer Sam Worthingtons) than Clash of the Titans, I would have challenged you to pistols (at dusk).

The dragons and other creatures were neat and I generally liked the look of the whole flick. With apologies to my movie going friend of Scandinavian descent, I'm a fan of the giant horned Viking helmets (and a fan of sitting in a movie with someone who knows down to her bones that they didn't wear them, or have Scottish accents. Seriously. Hilarious.). The monsters lurking around in fog looked great and so did the characters and village. A lot of the time you only get cool looking monsters or good looking people. Not the case in this. Unfortunately, still suffering from regret (and a headache) from the terrible 3D in Alice, we chose to see this in flat, so I can't report back on the quality of the 3D.

The story is a pretty simple finding your place in the world standard. What was nice to see was that a pretty usual boy's story about coming of age and seeking your fortune, was about learning to cohabitate with the people around you rather than having to defeat them. While most of the story was pretty usual, I thought that was a cool diversion. (Alright, I'll admit that what I liked even MORE was that the main girl character wanted to go out there and slay. Right on, battle axe sister!)

I haven't seen Jay Baruchel (who voiced the main kid) in anything before, but he was good in this. He sold some pretty cheesy lines, and selling cheese always impresses me. Actually, his strong showing is making me lean towards seeing his strange looking new movie Trotsky. Craig Ferguson, of course, was fun, but didn't really do much in the way of acting. More like....voice showing up and recording than voice acting.

Random Thoughts (beware ye readers for here there be spoilers): The movie also delivers on its premise. It makes it abundantly clear that how you train your dragon is to cripple it first. It also seems to work on children.


  1. i am torn on whether i want to see this or not, thanks!

  2. Best monster movie out right now by a LONG shot. Sad is what it is.