How to Train Your Dragon, the new 3D animated film from DreamWorks, is directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, who earlier made Lilo & Stitch and wrote Mulan. The film follows a familiar trajectory and imparts life-lessons that you?ve seen in a dozen kiddie flicks including Kung-Fu Panda and Finding Nemo.
These are all sweet, coming-of-age movies in which the misfit protagonist finds himself, gets the girl and saves the world. But the USP here is the fabulous dragons.
Based on Cressida Cowell?s popular book, How To Train Your Dragon, is set in a Viking village called Berk, which is described as being on the meridian of misery.
Our hero is named Hiccup but that isn?t the only thing that makes him a misfit. In a village overrun by swaggering, gigantic warriors, Hiccup is a wise, slender, sensitive soul who only wants to please his father, the tribal chief Stoick the Vast, voiced by Gerard Butler.
The Vikings are enmeshed in a fight-to-the-death with dragons. But Hiccup befriends a wounded dragon and discovers that they are just as sacred as humans. Hiccup then finds his inner warrior and alters the Viking-Dragon relationship forever.
The story might be predictable but the film works because there is genuine affection and delight here. The relationship between Hiccup and the dragon, Toothless, is beautifully rendered and there are some superlative scenes of dragons soaring in flight.
The 3D works beautifully in these scenes. Toothless, sleek, black and damaged, is wonderfully expressive but the other dragons also have distinct personalities. I especially enjoyed a double-headed one whose heads spew out gas and fire. His opponent needs to quickly figure out which head does what.
These are ferocious creatures but there isn?t anything here that will scare children over five or six. How To Train Your Dragon makes for perfect summer-vacation viewing. I strongly recommend you take the kids.