I have enjoyed the growing trend over the past 15 years or so of animated films, which are just as much for adults as for children. “How to Train Your Dragon,” the newest animated film from DreamWorks Studios, is no exception, using fantastic visuals to keep children entertained while using serious themes and quality storytelling to keep adults intrigued.
“How to Train Your Dragon” tells the story of a young Viking named Hiccup and his attempts to befriend a dragon while living in a village of dragon-killers. Hiccup desires to be accepted by his peers and the adults in the village, but his physique and demeanor are simply not those of a successful dragon-killer.
The film opens in the middle of an attack on the Viking village by the local dragons. Through a series of events Hiccup manages to befriend one of the fiercest of the dragons while maintaining his reputation as a dragon-killer-in-training back home. Instead of fighting dragons, Hiccup sets out to fight the village’s ignorance and his father’s high expectations.
I have to be honest; I am getting tired of 3D movies. When I see that the only showing of a movie is in 3D, all it means to me is that I am being robbed of four more dollars by the already over-priced movie theater. I say this and I am not even in the 10 percent of the population that has reported receiving headaches during 3D movies.
But if there is one movie that has renewed my faith in 3D, “How to Train Your Dragon” is it. If you thought the 3D in “Avatar” was something to behold, then “How to Train Your Dragon” will blow you away. The effects integrated beautifully into the film without being in the least distracting.
The voice acting in this film is also phenomenal. Hiccup is played by the timid yet likeable voice of Jay Baruchel. Gerard Butler gives a strong performance with his thick Scottish accent as Hiccup’s overbearing father Stoick. A few noteworthy appearances in the smaller roles are Jonah Hill, who plays the know-it-all teen Snotlout, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who plays Fishlegs, the over-sized teen who is a walking encyclopedia of dragons.
“How to Train Your Dragon” goes beyond simple entertainment, offering worthwhile lessons for kids as well as adults. When Hiccup first meets the dragon, he cannot kill it, because he sees pieces of himself reflected in it. This is a good lesson for any age. It teaches people to look inside themselves so they can see pieces of worth in others, though they may be on the other side of the spectrum.
If you can catch “How to Train Your Dragon” before it leaves theaters it will be well worth your time. It is among my favorite animated films of the past few years and it ranks in my top 5 films of this year so far. Hopefully the $12 you have to spend to see the movie will not hurt your pocket-book quite so much with the knowledge that this is a quality film worth every penny.