***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***

 

No matter what they do, it seems as though Dreamworks will always be working in the shadows of Pixar in terms of animation, film quality and story but their 2012 effort, How to Train Your Dragon, is a fantastic outing from them which is just as enjoyable as most Pixar films.

How to Train Your Dragon tells the story of Hiccup Haddock III (Jay Baruchel), the son of the Viking leader (voiced by Gerard Butler) who aspires to be just like his father and learn to kill dragons with him. That is until a meeting with one of the most feared dragons of the time, a Night Fury, leads to the forming of an unlikely friendship where Hiccup learns that there is more to the fearsome creatures than meets the eye.

This is not a typical children’s film when it comes to story; the focus of the film does not lie within it’s morality of good versus evil, in fact the villain does not really appear until more than halfway through the film. Instead, How to Train Your Dragon prides itself upon it’s character and it’s spirit. It is a story that blurs the line between interpretations of good and evil respective to the dragons in particular and shows true triumph in it’s portrayal of family values and the real meaning of friendship.

The character’s really come to life and the friendship between Hiccup and Toothelss, as the Night Fury is named, is very believable and at times incredibly touching. The voice acting is pretty standard although why the Vikings tend to have Scottish accents rather than Scandanavian accents is baffling.

Dreamworks’ animation is top notch and it is clear they took a lot of time in making the film look aesthetically pleasing. Visually, the film is perfect. In particular, the final act where the young vikings are riding the dragons makes you realise how much effort has gone into the animation. There are clues all through the film about the final act and the dragons in the final act all resemble their riders. This is something that I did not realise until late on but was really impressed with.

Unfortunately, there are some scenes where the action or dialogue is below par and at times it seems to drag a little and on occassion I did become bored. There are some silences as Toothless does not talk and at times the silence is effective and you get a lot of information just from eye movement and body language but when used too much it makes the film boring.

Overall, How to Train Your Dragon is a fun film with a good heart but it idn’t quite have enough to sustain my interest 100% over the hour and a half which it lasts. Saying that, though, I would definitely watch it again.

My Rating: 7/10

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