Hey Scratch Pad, this is QBComics back again with a review for Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon. Now when I first saw the trailer for this movie I thought it looked bad. I mean, really bad. I thought it looked like it was going to be another generic kids movie filled with pop-culture references, bland characters, and toilet humor. I’m am glad to say that this is totally not the case. (If you have not seen the movie I would recommend skipping this review if you don’t want it spoiled.)
*WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW*
This film is directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois who are also the former directors of Disney’s Lilo and Stitch. Chris Sanders had left Disney back in 2006 after John Lasseter had booted him off the movie American Dog (soon renamed Bolt), because his take on the film was supposedly “too quirky for its own good.” Enter Dreamworks where Sanders teamed back up with Dean DeBlois to write and direct How To Train Your Dragon. The film is based on 2003 book with the same title which is written by Cressida Cowell even if the film has little to do with the book.
First of all, the animation is gorgeous. The way the trees move and the hair on characters blow in the wind feels so natural. The forest are so detailed and the towns is rich in character. The flying sequences are what really blew me away. The colors used in these sequences actually really help the look and feel of it. I personally think they are just as good as Avatar. I could go on and on about the animation, but I wouldn’t want to bore you to death. 😛
The story is the typical ‘zero to hero’ plot, but the way it is delivered makes it seem fresh and different. The ending may seem a bit cliché with all the other Dragon trainees being a part of the climax and the main character thinking to be dead, but it is never really gets in the way as much as other movies. Certain plot twists are really surprising, some of them getting very dark. For example, towards the end a character actually loses their leg. It’s very nice to see realism in this film, acknowledging that heros don’t always walk away unharmed. But how do the characters match up? Really well, in my opinion. Obviously the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless is most important and they really knock it out of the park. You can really feel the connection between them grow as the story progresses just as you do in say something like Old Yeller. (Although this film doesn’t break your heart like that one. :-P) Hiccup also never gets too full of himself as he grows in popularity. He seems very humble and never wants to be in the center of attention which makes his character more likeable and believable. Plus it is such a fresh breath of air from the characters of something like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Toothless is just adorable in some scenes being a mix between a dog and a cat. He has that special scratch spot, or spots you can’t touch or grass that acts like cat nip. The other minor characters such as Astrid and Stoick are also done well, even if Astrid and the other dragon trainee’s lines aren’t delivered as good as the others.
I love the music. John Powell does a VERY good job. The score is distinct and very inspiring to me. Some pieces being powerful and fast-paced to go with the action, while others may be slow and light for the romance scenes. I may be going out on limb, but I think it is almost as good as Michael Giacchino’s score from Up. Almost. 😉 But seriously, if you have iTunes I would seriously recommend listening to the samples provided. It is well worth it.
In conclusion I would say that How To Train Your Dragon is well worth your money (3D or 2D. I loved it in 3D), and I think anyone who is an animation fan should love it. It’s full of great characters, beautiful animation, and a fantastic score. I would go so far to say it’s as good as some of Pixar’s lower quality films. I definitely can’t wait for the sequel. 🙂
9/10 for How To Train Your Dragon.
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