How to Train Your Dragon Reviews
It has winningly Potteresque teen-dragon-slayer classes, a queen-bee dragon as grand as Godzilla, and a layer of age-of-terror allegory about the ignorance bred by jingoism.
It's a thrilling action-adventure saga with exhilarating 3-D animation, a clever comedy with witty dialogue, a coming-of-age tale with surprising depth and a sweetly poignant tale of friendship between man and animal.
At a time when Hollywood seems to be releasing everything this side of Dead Sea Scrolls documentaries in 3-D, How to Train Your Dragon is a briskly paced computer-animated entertainment that uses the format to maximum effect, the way Avatar does.
Though the dragons are cool in their various forms and the battle scenes are epic and exciting, watching two former foes become friends is what really makes the story fly.
Smartly dispensing with the usual hubbub of pop references that dot many of these films, the movie offers touching, quiet moments and imaginative, high-flying beauty. It's fantastically entertaining.
It devotes a great deal of time to aerial battles between tamed dragons and evil ones, and not much to character or story development. But it's bright, good-looking and has high energy.
The superb cinematographer Roger Deakins served as a visual consultant, pushing the palette to an unusually burnished and sophisticated level. Kids may not notice the visual texture consciously, but adults will. Or should.
The 3-D throughout How to Train Your Dragon is perhaps the best match with animation yet -- exhilarating when it's supposed to be, yet integrated into the film rather than seemingly pasted on.
Directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, working from a script based on Cressida Cowell's books, should be credited for the way they develop the friendship between Hiccup and Toothless.