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March 31, 2010 > Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon

Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon

By Jennifer Gau

This great family movie is set on the mythical island of Berk. Hiccup (voice actor Jay Baruchel) is the son of Stoick the Vast (voice actor Gerard Butler), the Viking tribe's chief. Fighting dragons are what the Vikings have done for hundreds of years. Hiccup is not your average Viking teen with his thin physique and non-killer instincts. Things begin to change when Hiccup encounters a dragon, and his entire world view opens up bringing more opportunities and trouble to Berk.

Directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois bring to life Cressida Cowell's novel with the same title. Settings were fantastical and the characters mirrored the stereotypical Viking. DreamWorks has years of experience with animation, and they produced a seemingly flawless animated film full of action and adventure. The story flowed smoothly and had no trouble emitting a certain emotion from the audience whether happiness, helplessness, or hope at particular moments. Each scene was accented with a lot of creative touches. With a fantasy film, it helps to display the full context so the audience understands the opportunities and constraints that exist in the made-up world.

The one thing that this movie could do better is the title. At first glance, it has the connotation of a cheesy animated film enjoyed only by the young audience. However, as the film progresses, it becomes apparent why the title was chosen. Some characters and scenes were similar to those present in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009). Hiccup is an awkward character who has the same quirks as kids his age would have. His special talent is his creativity and big dreams, just like the inventor in Cloudy.

Finally, a DreamWorks animated film that is up to par with Pixar has come along! It is as if one of the creators brought to the studios magic pixie dust that helped Pixar take the Academy Award for "Best Animated Feature" every year since 2007. This movie may have a predictable plot but it's worth the ride over and over again.

Runtime: 1 hour 38 minutes
Rated: PG

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