UK Release date: 31st March 2010
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 29th May 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I had heard a lot about this film before seeing it; after all, it was a huge hit when it hit the screens last year. Now showing on TV, I thought it was about time I saw just what all the fuss was about. You’ll be pleased to know I wasn’t too disappointed, I really enjoyed this tale of Vikings, Dragons and friendship. There were just a couple of niggles, but I’ll get to them later.
When young Hiccup, son of the town of Berk’s leader, Stoick the Vast, decides he wants to fight dragons, he disobeys his father and goes into battle with an invention of his. He brings down a rare dragon, a Night Fury, but finds himself unable to kill it when he finds it the following day. He releases the dragon, but it is injured and needs Hiccup’s help to be able to fly again. He calls the dragon Toothless and it’s not long before they become friends. Through Toothless, Hiccup learns more about the dragons that have been plaguing his town and that it is not through their own choice. When Stoick discovers the dragon you can tell there’s going to be conflict, but will it end well for the boy and his dragon? Well, you’ve probably guessed I’m not going to tell you here.
This film has two things in its favour, a decent plot and some top class animation. It’s all beautifully drawn in a similar style to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009), which I also enjoyed very much. Well voiced by the talents of; Jay Baruchel as Hiccup, Gerard Butler as Stoick, Craig Ferguson as Gobber the Belch, America Ferrera as Astrid, Jonah Hill as Snotlout and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs… to name but a few.
I said at the beginning I had a couple of niggles, well, we’ll start with accents. I was always brought up to believe Vikings came from Scandinavia (that’s Sweden, Finland, Norway or Denmark). These appear to all come from Scotland for some reason. Also, despite the fact that all their parents speak with Scottish accents, all the kids speak with American accents (very confusing). Furthermore, on a technical note, although I saw it in 2D, the picture seemed very dark, even the outside scenes looked a bit muted. Probably an after-effect of it having been 3D’d for those that like parting with the extra cash. It may have got a higher score were it not for the niggles I’ve mentioned here.
Over all though, it’s the story that’s important, and this film really delivers on that count. The animation is beautifully done, when it’s not too dark to see and the characters are well thought out, despite their unusual choices of accents. I really enjoyed it!… Highly recommended.
My Score: 8.4/10
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0892769/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1194522-how_to_train_your_dragon/
Official Site: http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/