David’s How to Train Your Dragon Review

19 Apr

DreamWorks Animation’s new hit, How to Train Your Dragon, surprised me.  I have not been the biggest fan of DreamWorks in the past.  Over the Hedge, Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Sinbad, Chicken Run, Flushed Away, Shark Tale, Bee Movie, these aren’t movies that I plan on watching again and again.  So I was wary of this new attempt.  Yes, this time the movie had dragons and Vikings in it, but Sinbad had Sinbad in it, and it still turned out pretty terrible.

So here’s this awesome premise for a movie being made by a company I wouldn’t trust to get my order right in the McDonalds drive-through.  Then, I started hearing things.  People started telling me that I might would just love this movie.  That it might be is awesome.  Well, that just made it worse.  Now if it was bad, my disappointment couldn’t be lessened by my previously low expectations for DreamWorks’ films.  No, this would be a whole new level of disappointment.  I entered the theater, sat down, put on my 3-D glasses, and prepared myself.

What I saw was the best movie I’ve seen all year.  How to Train Your Dragon is amazing.  I absolutely loved it.

Why did I love it so much?  I’ll tell you.

  1. The story is fantastic.  Its simple enough for kid to totally get everything that is happening, exciting enough for the adult to be completely into it the entire time, and funny enough that they could all talk to each other about it on the way home.
  2. It has a great message.  And it doesn’t insult you by pushing the message into your face repeatedly.  As we all know, I loved Avatar.  But the plot was nothing to be amazed by.  There were some bad guys who wanted to tear up the woods where the good guys live.  Nature was both physically and spiritually important to the good guys, who were trying to teach that to the bad guys.  I know that because it was smashed into my face repeatedly by dialogue that probably could have used a second draft and a plot that didn’t leave you curious.  How to Train Your Dragon basically says the same thing.  We have to learn how to share the planet with the other things that live here.  But I don’t have to listen to Sam Worthington say that 500 times in this movie.  I get to figure it out while watching people fly on dragons.
  3. The dragons are so well done.  They’re basically cats.  Everything they do is something a cat does.  Which was a genius move by the filmmakers because they seem so much more realistic than dragons typically do, especially in children’s movies.  Every time a dragon reacted to something in his environment, I immediately thought of a time that I had seen another animal act that way in real life.
  4. The 3-D is awesome.  I hate to keep comparing it to Avatar, but this 3-D was right up there.  This new trend of using 3-D to make the environment more realistic, instead of having things jump out at you, is something that I can really get behind.  There’s a scene towards the end where there is just tons of ash falling from the sky and camera is moving through it.  I really felt like I was walking through that cloud of ash.  It was amazing.
  5. Its about Vikings and dragons.  It really is. These are the Vikings you imagined as a child.  And these are the dragons you’ve secretly wanted to have your entire life.

Hiccup and Toothless

All in all, I loved How to Train Your Dragon.  I walked out of the theater and then thought about how much I loved it for the rest of the day.  I got to work and told everyone how wonderful it was.  I called friends who had told me to see it and I told them how right they were.

Is there anything wrong with it?  Sure.  Some of the humor is stuff you see in every children’s movie.  Also, it set the bar EXTREMELY high for the next DreamWorks animated film.  And I wanted it to last longer, because it was so awesome.

If you haven’t already seen this movie, please go soon.  You need to see this movie on the big screen and in 3-D.  If you’ve already seen it, spread the word, and then go see it again.  I know I want to.


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