I love having a good time at the movies. In fact, I bet that’s the reason that most people go to the movies. That’s why action packed blockbusters seem to do really well in terms of tickets sold while art-house downers (I still love you Million Dollar Baby) tend not to do so well. So for the mass of humanity, a films 'likeability' factor can therefore be measured in receipts; correct? Well not really, or otherwise How to Train Your Dragon would have broken all kinds of box office records.
This is the best film of the year so far and not only because it’s a blast. DreamWorks has crafted one of the funnier, topical and downright stunning films since Kung Fu Panda. DreamWorks is not known for the high quality stories like Pixar, and recent hits like Monsters Vs. Aliens and Shrek 3 prove that there seems to be a lot lacking in their creative department. It seems they did something right here with a story that is actually poignant without being preachy and sentimental without being manipulative. As an added measure, they threw in some truly astounding visuals that literally elicit ahhs from the audience. Truly, this movie has the best use of 3D visuals since Avatar.
How to Train Your Dragon begins as a predictable fish out of water tale (covered excellently by Happy Feat) about Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) trying to prove himself to his Viking community and especially his father (Gerard Butler) by attempting to help in the centuries old fight against Dragons. While trying to prove his usefulness, Hiccup befriends a dragon thought to be the most dangerous of all. At this point the story starts to take on a few added flourishes that distinguish it above regular animated fare. What happens when you are the cause of someone’s misfortune? How should you treat the unknown? How do you heal a broken family and relationship with your father and most importantly, where does your loyalty lie…
Beyond the story there are the visuals. I cannot say enough about the amazing flying scenes through clouds, atmosphere and sunsets. It truly is a step ahead of the flying scenes from Avatar. The textures are amazing as well, hair is wiry or soft, and eyeballs have a distinct wetness and water hay as well have been real. The lighting is also perfected with large amounts of darks and atmosphere that usually animated pictures brighten up and pos. Here they are subdued and earthy. Trees, hills and backgrounds have depth and small candle lit spaces have intimate shadows.
Now I may be toting this movie too much, but what else can I do after I enjoy something so thoroughly. There are a few slow parts and an annoying story line about a girl. Also, Jay Baruchels voice is so freakin annoying. It sounds like he is whining the entire time but luckily; the story and visuals eventually take of the sting of his pinched nose. Those small gripes aside, go to this movie for the pure enjoyment of it. Use the Box office to show Hollywood they don’t have to sacrifice story for visuals. Bravo to the story for not making the ending a perfect solution and reminding us that although we may not be perfect, relying on our family and friends can somehow create a perfect match.
See it now!!!!
See it in theaters!!!
Rent it on DVD/BluRay!!
Wait for it on TV!