Saturday, March 27, 2010

Movie Review: Nothing Like a Boy and His Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon movie poster, image property of Dreamworks Animation.
How to Train Your Dragon AWESOME!

Last night Brian and I went to see Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon and we both loved it to death!  You must know that Brian and I are huge Pixar fans and esteem them to be the greatest in computer animated storytelling.  Wall-E is one of my favorite movies of all time (animated or live-action), and last year's Up was a brilliant beyond brilliant film and well-deserving of its nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars.  So when we watch a computer animated film from any other studio, we always find ourselves comparing it to Pixar.  Dragon was the first one--in our humble opinion--to measure up to our idol Pixar.

The story is of a young Viking named Hiccup who is an embarrassment to his village because he's scrawny and clumsy and spends more time tinkering with inventions than killing dragons.  And of course nobody is around to notice when one of his machines actually strikes down a Night Fury (only the scariest and most mysterious of all dragons, don't ya know).  They only see him as a dumb kid always in the way.  Later he finds the fallen dragon, ready to slay it and prove once and for all that he's a Viking like all the rest, but instead spares the dragon's life, and creates a bond of friendship that proves to be life-saving.

This film was very heartfelt, warm, and sincere.  The relationship between Hiccup and the dragon (cheekily named Toothless) is very believable and endearing to watch.  The relationship between Hiccup and his father is also handled beautifully, and the movie achieves a perfect balance of humor, drama, and action.

That being said, I just wanted to point out that there seems to be a lot of computer animated movies with heroes who spend all their time making inventions that nobody understands.  Inventions that often wreak havoc towards the beginning, but yet become all-too-important in the end, bringing the character from a zero to a hero.  For example, Pixar's A Bug's Life tells of an ant named Flik who creates inventions to aid in food gathering, which accidentally causes them to lose all the food they've collected, before Flik and his intuitiveness come in to save the day.  Twentieth Century Fox did Robots where the main character Rodney Copperbottom takes his invention to Robot City to show the inventor Bigweld, Disney's Meet the Robinsons is about an orphan named Lewis who's science fair project goes awry altering the future as he knows it, and Sony Pictures recently came out with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs where young inventor Flint Lockwood creates an invention that makes food rain from the sky!

See?  Everyone's an inventor nowadays!  But not everyone's a dragon tamer and that's why How to Train Your Dragon trumps all!

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