Review: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Review: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (2010)

A thematically familiar but visually engaging animated fantasy adventure.


If you pay attention to most animated movies released by DreamWorks Animation from the year 2001 to 2009, their approach are always more or less the same: pop-culture references and inside-movie gags. Among the prime examples are 2001's SHREK, 2004's SHARK TALE, 2005's MADAGASCAR, 2007's BEE MOVIE and 2009's MONSTERS vs. ALIENS. Of course there are certain occasion where DreamWorks Animation manages to make way for something different like 2008's KUNG FU PANDA and not to forget also, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON.
  
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

The story centres on awkward young teenager Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), who always dream of slaying dragons just like his fellow Viking warriors. Then one day, he comes across an injured Night Fury dragon and named him Toothless. He even ends up befriending the creature and begins to realize that a dragon like Toothless can be tamed after all. However, he needs to find way to convince his Viking leader father Stoick (Gerard Butler) and the rest of the clan that dragons can be allies to them.
  
THE GOOD STUFF
 
Directing duo Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders (2002's LILO & STITCH) definitely know their way around when comes to visual spectacle. Aided by the legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins as visual consultant, the look of the movie is impeccable. The flying sequences, such as the one where Hiccup rides his dragon Toothless all over the sky, are spectacular enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen.

The voice talents are remarkable, with Jay Baruchel leads a wonderfully inspiring performance as Hiccup. His relationship with Toothless is among the best thing in the movie. Not to forget also is America Ferrera, who brings a perfectly feisty and tomboyish role as Hiccup's subsequent love interest, Astrid. The rest of the supporting casts, such as Gerard Butler as Stoick and Craig Ferguson as Stoick's friend Gobber, are equally satisfying as well.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT(S)
 
The flying scene where Hiccup finally manages to fix the injured Toothless with prosthetic tail and the climactic finale where Hiccup and Toothless battles against the gigantic fire-breathing dragon called Red Death.

THE BAD STUFF
  
If there's any flaw in this movie, it's the way Will Davies, Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders choose to approach the "human and animal bond" plot device (which actually based from Cressida Cowell's book) at the most conventional way.

FINAL WORDS

Despite the formulaic structure in this movie, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is reasonably heartfelt and fun-filled animated adventure for both young and old viewers.

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