How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Reviewed on 2011 May 30
Very funny and touching story about a misfit Viking kid who wants nothing more than to hunt dragons with the rest of his clan, then reconsiders when his father grants his wish.
Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is a thin, nerdy Viking boy, nothing at all like his huge, powerful father, the fierce Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler). He wants to be a warrior like dear old dad and dad’s bud, the tough Gobber (Craig Ferguson), who lost a leg and hand in the dragon raids on the village and doesn’t seem the least bit fazed; it merely heightens Gobber’s resolve to kill more of the things as they plunder and swipe livestock from the Norsemen’s island of Berk. One night after a particularly rough hit by the “Green Death”, Stoick relents and allows his son to be trained with the other village youth, but Hiccup soon regrets this after he makes a discovery.
This was something I had my eye on, but missed while it was in theaters. I wish now I’d seen it on the big screen because it’s made of win. If Pixar can make a roach seem cute, I shouldn’t be surprised that Dreamworks made me fall for a snub-nosed, sweet-faced dragon. Dreamworks did a beautiful job anthropomorphising their creation. The critter complains a lot, but then responds to snacks and petting, i.e. stuff my cat does. The vocal talent was great too, especially the actors bringing the squabbling Viking kids to life. All of this was worked around a good story as well, one that was sweet without being saccharine. It’s kind of strange to even imagine a tale about a bunch of tubby, brawling Vikings as being cloying, but this is a family movie and a lesser studio could have failed here. Dreamworks avoided that temptation very nicely.
Three chocolate morsels.