Monday, March 29, 2010

How To Train Your Dragon

I have been avoiding all reviews or references to this movie because I really wanted to enjoy it without any of the hype that usually destroys one of these pictures.

It was also one of those first pictures that was so blatantly made for 3D. Not two seconds into the picture the water is splashed towards us to let us know we are in for a 'special' viewing experience.

The story takes place on a remote viking village that has a variety of PESTS that threaten their lives and livelihood. These are unique pest though. They are DRAGONS and they are making the village miserable.

I actually kinda felt sorry for the Vikings living there. They do seem to be having their butt kicked daily by the dragon menace. Like Hiccup says, "Living in this place seven generations - all new buildings though."

First of all the animation is fantastic. Simple enough to not be distracting but a perfect backdrop to the tale.

The story is also fantastic. Somebody here really knows how to keep the action moving and set characters without any extra filler. The script really gives voice to the characters too. Just like I imagined they actually would have talked back then. Not movie talk but general day to day bitchin' about life in general. Chalk that up to the great vocal work by Gerard Butler as Stoic, Hiccup's Father and Craig Ferguson as Hiccup's mentor and teacher on the subject of dragon slaying.

Hiccup is a great hero too. He's got a very practical sense of his place in the village and can actually joke about it. He is modern and can accept change much better than the others. He may be the runt and joke of the village but they love him - they just take no effort to understand him.

He is given the chance to be trained as a dragon slayer but he prefers to be a 'bread making viking' or a 'home repair viking'. The script is full of cute little moments like this and has many geek references (like the fat teen viking who keeps calling out power levels of dragons like he's a home gamer).

After shooting down one of the great dragons with his net throwing contraption, Hiccup can't bring himself to kill it after looking in it's eyes and this starts his relationship with the Night Fury, one of the many species of cool dragons that inhabit this world.

The Night Fury Dragon (Toothless) that Hiccup meets is one of the great animated characters of the modern age. He is not a cute talking animal and his way of communicating his needs and wishes is both elegant and hilarious. He is like Stich in that way and shares Stich's curiosity and bravery. The first interactions between Hiccup and Toothless made me smile from ear to ear.

And their relationship is hard fought and hard won which only increases the enjoyment for the audience. With every interaction between Hiccup and Toothless, the boy learns more and more about the nature of dragons.

In fact it's the RELATIONSHIPS that make this picture as great as it is from the way Hiccup interacts with Toothless, Astrid, his father, his teacher and everyone in the village including his very funny teen posse.

I won't say anything else but to express my utter love for this picture. It's the best animated feature 'Dreamworks' has very made and I am so hoping there is never a sequel that will drain all the life out of the characters and the story. It's perfect the way it is.

Just to let you know how MUCH I love this film, I am making a rare trip out of the Cave of Cool tomorrow to run errands, one of which is to find me a cool Toothless figure. You think there is any chance they made a big puppet one?


Powdered Toast Man said...

You should make your own dragon puppet and teach it things.

Laura said...

I took my two youngest children to see this on Saturday. They and I loved it. It was a wonderful movie! Unfortunately I live in nowhere's ville and we didn't get the 3D version. :(


Uberman said...

I want a Toothless figure, too! I can't find any around here, though, besides action figures and Happy Meal toys, and all the kids seem to get the Happy Meal Tootless toy before I did. Buncha little snot-nosed jerks. ¬_¬

Oh yeah, and the movie was glorious. Absolutely pitch-perfect.