How to Train Your Dragon
How to Train Your Dragon is a 2010 American computer-animated action fantasy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Loosely based on the book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell, the film was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, the duo who wrote and directed Walt Disney Animation Studios' Lilo & Stitch.
Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a Norse teenager from the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life. His progressive views and weird sense of humor make him a misfit, despite the fact that his father (Gerard Butler) is chief of the clan. Tossed into dragon-fighting school, he endeavors to prove himself as a true Viking, but when he befriends an injured dragon he names Toothless, he has the chance to plot a new course for his people's future.
Why It Rocks
- Unlike other Dreamworks movies, rather than being a family friendly movie, this one (along with its sequels) focus more on mature themes, but it still has the family friendly vibe of any other dreamworks movie, without feeling too dark and edgy.
- The film has so many great, parallel moments, like when Hiccup helps Toothless recover his wings when he ripped them near the beginning and then at the end, Toothless helps Hiccup recover with his leg.
- The animation looks brilliant for 2010 standards, which still hold up today. The filmmakers actually hired cinematographer Roger Deakins (known for frequently collaborating with the Coen brothers) as a visual consultant to help them with lighting and overall look of the film and to "add a live-action feel". Furthermore, extensive research was done to depict both flight, as the directors knew they would be the biggest draw of the film's effects, and fire, given animation could break away from the limitations seen in live-action films, where propane flames are usual due to being easier to extinguish.
- Plenty of likable and memorable characters, such as Hiccup, Toothless, Astrid, Stoick and Gobber.
- The directors made a smart casting choice with the improvisation abilities of the secondary cast—Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig and T.J Miller—by frequently bringing them together in the recording sessions. The voice acting itself is great overall.
- The dynamic between Hiccup and Toothless is enjoyable to watch.
- The film has a ton a very entertaining action scenes such as the climactic battle between the Red Death and Hiccup and Toothless.
- All of the dragons' designs are very astounding and nice.
- It spawned a beloved franchise.
- Incredible music composed by John Powell. The complexity, emotion, grandeur, and nuance of the themes established in this film are on the levels of those from more famous composers such as John Williams, and they elevate every emotional and action sequence in not only this film, but the entire franchise.
- Well executed story and message on encouraging peace between humans and animals. If it wasn't executed as well as it could've, this would have been the most boring, predictable and cliched story and message DreamWorks has ever concocted.
- Even if their voice actors did a good job, the comic reliefs are widely considered to be the worst aspect of the movie, due to how annoying and one-note they are with clichés such as Snotlout being the jock, Ruffnutt and Tuffnutt being the always arguing twins and Fishlegs being the nerd. The comic relief that actually worked in many people's eyes was just Gobber.