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How To Train Your Dragon
Training your dragon can be as easy as training any pet......supposedly.
Indeed, anyone can tame these magnificent mythical creatures. In fact, it's as easy as cake. Want to know how? Simple, watching Dreamworks' new animated feature film, "How To Train Your Dragon", will show you the way. When I first saw this movie, I had no idea what to even expect. However, it was surprisingly better than I thought it would be, but it's no where near the level of it's hype.
The story features an unlikely hero named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), who is essentially a social outcast who has no friends. The girl he loves, Astrid (America Ferrera), hates him, and his father isn't too fond of him either. If that wasn't bad enough, his father, Stoick (Gerard Butler), also happens to be the Viking leader and hero many of the other Vikings wish to emulate. Quite a shadow to live under, especially when almost everyone in the village hates you. However, what puny little Hiccup lacks in size and strength, he makes up for with ingenuity and knowledge as he always tries to invent things. Sadly, none of them ever work.....that is until one day he manages to capture the fabled black dragon; a dragon so deadly and fast that nobody has ever seen one and lived to tell the tale. That is....until now! Hiccup, in his quest, to impress his father and the other villagers manages to capture and tries to kill the beast, but it seems he has a change of heart as he couldn't go through with it. Therefore, he sets it free. Little did he know, this would be the beginning of an unlikely friendship. Discovering that the dragons aren't fierce and violent creatures his people thought they were, but they're actually more like cats and dogs, where they're not really bad. They only killed the other hundreds of Vikings, over the years, out of self defense when they slaughtered over thousands of dragons. In fact, the food and livestock the dragons steal from the Vikings is only to keep a much larger creature at bay. They're not so bad, just misunderstood.
For years the Vikings and dragons have been at war, with neither side coming close to defeating the other. The dragons having a clear advantage due to size and strength, but the Vikings own the advantage when it comes to intelligence. Although you probably wouldn't know it from hearing them talk with Scottish accents while speaking Americanized English. Which I doubt seriously Vikings talked like that, but hey it's a kids film.
Indeed, Hiccup is the perfect hero for this kind of kid based novel series adaptation, where it has a character who is unsure of himself, that the audience can deeply relate to. You have a father, who views Hiccup as something of a failure, and Hiccup is an outcast among the rest of the villagers. Of course, this tired old formula of having a social outcast as the unlikely hero is a bit cliched and predictable. Even the viking girl that Hiccup loves, who happens to be the most popular one by the way, is another tired story telling cliche as well. Since this is a children story, I doubt seriously most people will care about these details. However, it's a bit redundant sometimes to say the least.
Sadly, the story isn't that great to be honest, as it's entirely too predictable. As I was watching this film, I felt it would've made a much better video game story than a movie one. As the story elements seemed like they were primarily used to move the action sequences along. Filling in the gap between each action and fight sequences, which is essentially what a video game story arc does. Unfortunately, most video game stories have deeper and less predictable story lines than "How To Train Your Dragon."
However, the visuals were amazing, and make up for some of the stories short comings. Although some may not want to fork out the extra few bucks for the 3-D show, I can promise any skeptics it'll be worth it. As the 3-D truly does make the difference for this film. Watching the visuals on screen were too beautiful to describe with words, as it was like watching a 3-D arcade game come to life. Although the characters had a surrealistic look about them, the visuals were very well detailed. Everything from the fire that the dragons breathed to the visual references, when Stoick led the Vikings against the dragons, inside their home, in a "300" style manner....were just amazing.
"How To Train Your Dragon" is obviously a cliche ridden movie geared towards your kids, as I doubt most adults will enjoy this film as much as they do. For what it's worth though, "How To Train Your Dragon" isn't the worse film out there, but I would hardly call it one of the best animated family movies of the year or of any other year for that matter. It's a decent film to take your kids to, but I wouldn't expect too much out of it though, as most people would be better off waiting for it to be released on DVD.