Dreamworks has always been hit or miss for me. Their latest effort How To Train Your Dragon (available in 3D) is a hit. The animated film is about a young Viking named Hiccup, voiced by Jay Baruchel (She’s Out of My League), who happens to be a little different. While most Vikings are immense warriors, Hiccup happens to be a scrawny apprentice to the local blacksmith. Hiccup lives in a village just like every other place in the world, except that instead of having mice for pests, they have dragons.
The best Viking warrior in the village is Stoick, played by Gerard Butler (300). Stoick just so happens to be Hiccup’s father as well, which only makes things worse for Hiccup as he fails to be a dragon hunter like the rest of the villagers. Hiccup continues to vie for the approval of his father, but just seems to get in the way until the day he stumbles upon an injured dragon. Hiccup befriends the dragon and comes to the realization that everything they’ve been taught about dragons is wrong, one interesting thing being that dragons are apparently very cat like.
How To Train You Dragon is a great family film. Kids and adults will both be entertained and take different things away from the movie. The animation is flawless, which will keep the wee ones glued to the big screen, while the story is well written with enough humor thrown in to keep older audience wanting more.
The cast of the film works together well. Baruchel plays the lead character perfectly and his interesting voice seems to be made for cartoons. There might not be any better rising star in Hollywood to play the wimpy kid trying to be bigger than he is. Butler does a nice job because you can never go wrong with a Scottish accent in animation. The supporting cast includes another Scotsman in Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, as well as Ugly Betty star America Ferrera, Jonah Hill (Superbad), Kristen Wiig (SNL), and TJ Miles (She’s Out of My League).
The one disappointment of this film is the 3D portion of it. I’ve typically always been on the fence when it comes to 3D films, but I was really looking forward to see what Dreamworks could put together here. I thought there was so much potential to give us great 3D shots involving the dragons breathing fire or their long tails swinging out, but we really get none of that here. Perhaps Dreamworks didn’t want to over do it, but I think they were a little too light.
Overall, the film is highly enjoyable. I’m not sure I’d suggest paying the extra dough to see it in 3D, but it’s definitely a movie worth checking out, especially if you’re taking a family of all ages.