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He Said, She Said Review Site

How to Train Your Dragon

What she said:


I’m trying to remember the last halfway decent DreamWorks Animation movie that I’ve seen….still trying.  Ok, I’ve failed.  Even the company itself seems to acknowledge its lack of recent brilliance in its new introduction for the film How to Train Your Dragon, you know the part where they show their logo.  It’s set to the film score from the first Shrek movie.  Kind of sad they have to reach back so far…

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.  What’s important is that How to Train Your Dragon is really good.  It’s about time.  It’s fun, has the right amount of comedy, and a positive message.  Maybe there are a few plot holes here and there, but the movie really does feel solid from beginning to end. 

How to Train Your Dragon

It’s the story of a teenager, Hiccup, who is the town wimp, even if he is the son of the Viking leader.  Not only is his father ashamed, but the entire town is embarrassed by him.  Hiccup dreams of gaining respect by becoming a dragon slayer, until he finally succeeds in taking one down and meets it face to face.  I can see why he had the change of heart.  The dragon (a rare Night Fury breed) is just plain adorable.  How could you possibly kill it?  Instead Hiccup begins training the dragon, gains a better understanding of the species as a whole, and has his entire perspective of the dragon/Viking war altered.

It’s a nice story, and you’ll find yourself grinning like a fool throughout.  Of course, there’s adversity that Hiccup and Toothless (that’s the dragon) must face.  But in the end you’ll be happy, which is what we all love about movies. 

No joke, when I rented this film, the dude at Blockbuster asked me if I often got movies for my kids.  He was trying to sell me Toy Story 3.  I kind of gave him a shifty smile and then confessed that I was getting it for me, not for any children at home.  But you shouldn’t be ashamed.  This movie is for both kids and adults.  It’s not too kiddish at all.  In fact, there are jokes that will appeal more to adults than children.

Finally, a DreamWorks movie that could almost pass for an entry in the Pixar collection.  It’s well worth your time.

Diagnosis: Thumbs way up.


What he said:


This was the best DreamWorks movie I’ve seen since….well I’ll be, I can’t really remember the last one that left an impact on me.  I am sure I have seen a few of their movies the last few years, but the only one I can remember being all that good was Shrek.  I think Shrek 2 was funny, but I don’t remember it.  I know I fell asleep during Shrek 3 and what I saw of it wasn’t all that good. 

Anyway, this movie about a young Viking named Hiccup (voiced wonderfully by Jay Baruchel). He is very scrawny and prefers to use his brain instead of his brawn, which is something of a problem for a Viking. To make matters worse, his father Stoick (voiced by Gerard Butler) is not only the manliest man on the island, he’s also the leader the clan. His father is completely embarrassed by Hiccup's lack of machismo. The entire island mocks him. Hiccup is something of an outsider.

Later on in the movie, while the village is under the attack by hordes of dragons, Hiccup manages to encounter the rare breed of dragon known as a Night Fury. He nicknames the dragon Toothless and the two form a special bond. Seeing where this is going? Well despite that being as cookie cutter as it gets, it's really a very good movie. The two bond over time and before it's all said and done, we are taught not to judge a book by its cover. All the right messages for a good family film are present and delivered in a well-done manner.

The relationship between Hiccup and Toothless is what really holds the movie together. It's a simple, tride-and-true formula, but it's executed well. Hiccup is that outsider that so many of us can identify with at some point in our life. The voice work here by Baruchel was great. He really sold me on this young man's struggles to fit in. He captured the geeky, unexpected hero very well. And Toothless is one of the most endearing, loveable sidekicks I've seen in a while. With the curiosity and playfulness of Wall-E and the fierce instincts of Eve, he's the perfect blend.

Rating: A big thumbs up.