By Dirk Sonniksen | March 26, 2010
Director(s): Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders.
Writer(s): Cressida Cowell (story), Dean DeBlois (screenplay), Adam F. Goldberg (writer), Chris Sanders (screenplay), Peter Tolan (writer).
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera.
Loosely based on Cressida Cowell’s children’s novel by the same name, How to Train Your Dragon combines two of the coolest elements ever together in one film—Vikings and dragons. Yes, just when you think animation has reached its saturation point, with nothing left to offer but aliens and talking animals, something comes along to pique your interest and placate your kids.
Meet Hiccup, a bumbling young Viking vying for a spot fighting dragons among the ranks of the Viking warriors of his village. But Hiccup can’t seem to get any love, and is shunned by the warriors he so desperately wants to join. One evening as the dragons begin their assault on the village, Hiccup fires a random slingshot at the elusive Nightfury, a dragon coveted yet feared by all the Viking warriors. As it turns out, Hiccup’s aim was true. Finding the dragon wounded, Hiccup has the perfect opportunity to become a true dragon slayer. Instead he befriends the dragon, eventually learning that dragons are not what they appear.
Dreamworks goes heavy on the action in How to Train Your Dragon, with a plethora of dragons all having their own particular attributes, swooping in and out of frame, making for quite the 3-D extravaganza. While the film certainly plays on your emotions with the affectionate relationship between Hiccup and his dragon, Toothless, for the most part How to Train Your Dragon is a romp that will leave you oblivious to the fact that you are sitting in a theater. Yes, it’s that fun.
With Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders of Lilo & Stitch fame in the directors’ chairs, you are going to see a definite resemblance between Stitch and one dragon in particular. In addition, working on Lilo & Stitch certainly gave these guys the imaginative edge to create a slew of different dragons each with its own personal touch. That’s not to say it’s a ripoff of the aforementioned film/series; it’s not remotely close. How to Train Your Dragon is a unique film that brings the book to life (with a few changes), and will leave you wanting more of the adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. It will be interesting to see if the two directors find themselves making a sequel or two, as there are seven more books. Oh, the possibilities!