“ Genre: Children's DVDs - Animation / Parental Guidance / Director: Dean DeBlois / Actors: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Ashley Jensen ... / DVD released 2010-11-15 at Dreamworks Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
* Prices may differ from that shown
How to train your dragon is an animated film rated PG. It's about 98minutes long. It is also available in 3D - we watched the normal version.
This is a lovely film I really enjoyed it, it's about a viking boy called Hiccup who is a bit whimpy and his father is not pleased with him, his father is cheif viking, Hiccup feels like he never lives up to his dads expectations. The vikings are trying to kill the dragons as they try to distroy the viking town. Hiccup is not allowed to join in. While he is wandering away from the town he strikes down a night fury a very rare dragon, he cannot bring himself to destroy it. The night fury is injured though and cannot fly out of the wide deep pit.
It's a fantastic story about the bonding of Hiccup and his dragon and how Hiccup overcomes his awkwardness and turn's into a hero.
The animation is fantastic and well done, Night fury is nicknamed toothless and becomes a loveable character it becomes apparent that the Vikings have misjudged the species. It is a great moral story line about overcoming what people think of you.
I really fell in love with toothless, the communication is fantastic too as obviously the dragons cannot talk, so the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless is really interesting. The film really draws the audience into the story both my children thoroughly enjoyed it aged 9 and 12.
What more can I say.... watch it!!!
This film wasn't what I was expecting to be honest. When my boyfriend dragged me along to Blockbusters and picked this film, I was slightly annoyed. I was expecting it to be a light hearted, somewhat silly and OTT film (aka another Shrek type film), but what it is is actually very different. I'm quite embarresed to admit this, seeing as it is aimed at children, but this is probably one of the best films i've seen in the past couple of years. The characters are all computerized like in Toy Story, Shrek, etc and all look really life like - the picture quality is stunning - very clear, with bright, bold colours that I found myself mesmerized by lol - it's amazing, especially if you have a large TV as it feels like been in the cinema. The computer animation is really life like and does not look tacky or anything like that like I thought it would. The story is pretty basic, but good, and it plays out at a good pace which ensures that there is always something exciting happening, or about to happen.
The film is based on a book of the same name. The film is about a young boy, Hiccup, who a geeky, awkward and loveable character who you can't help but like. Hiccup lives in a viking village on the island of Berk, which has been the centre of Dragon attacks for some time. The Dragons steal there livestock and burn down the villagers' homes, leading to Hiccup's father, Stoick the Vast (the village chieftain), shooting one with a canon. Hiccup goes in search of the animal, but of course upon finding the helpless animal, he can not kill it. The dragon is called Toothless, and is absolutely stunning. This sounds silly but Toothless is such a pretty dragon with gorgeous big green eyes. Hiccup befriends Toothless. By befriending Toothless, Hiccup learns that the dragons are not evil, but are in fact under the power of a larger, nastier dragon. I hope that the above has not revealed any spoilers and I will not delve any further into the storyline. I thought it was a good plot though which has twists and turns and I love how Hiccup developes into a hero gradually throughout the film.
The voice cast includes Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill & Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Mclovin!!) who really make the characters what they are and bring them to life. Hiccup is voiced by Jay Baruchel who I have never heard of before but he does a great job in enchancing and adding emotion to Hiccup's character and I can not fault any of the voice cast. I can not really fault this film, it is ideal for kids, teenagers, parents and even grandparents, there is nothing in the film that is particullary scary, graphic or violent, however as the run time is 88 minutes it may be a little too long for younger children to sit through but obviously if you have it on DVD you can watch it in segments. The film is widely available on DVD and Blu Ray and prices vary from around £5-£20.
Stoik the vast (Gerard Butler), the leader of the Viking village of Berk has a problem, his lands are plagued by fearsome dragons and as any good Viking knows, the only way to resolve a problem is to attack it head on. Stoik's son, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is more of a thinker than a fighter, and while he wants to help his dad and his village fight the dragons, his father fears his clumsy son is too weak to do damage to anything other than himself.
Hiccup is banned from fighting and left to work in the metal shop of Gobber the Belch (Craig Ferguson) but the quick witted boy escapes and decides the he will help whether his father and his village want it or not.
Hiccup is an inventor and uses one of his inventions to try to capture one of the scary monsters, it actually works and he catches the most feared and dangerous dragon known to Vikings, a Night Fury, whom Hiccup eventually befriends and names 'Toothless'. As the Vikings and the dragons continue to fight, Hiccup and Toothless begin a friendship which will change both their lives and the lives of the dragons and Vikings forever.
Rather than having one huge name as many of these animated projects do, this film has a number of very strong comedic performers, it also has a lot of Scottish actors, to symbolise the Northern European Viking traditions. The acting is spot on in this film, Jay Baruchel trades on his screen persona as a geeky wiseguy and this is perfect for Hiccup as a young inventor who wants to be like his dad but just lacks the power and has to rely on his brains.
In terms of the Scottish actors on show, Gerard Butler is perfectly cast as the brave and headstrong Stoik, he is gruff, macho and not a unlike the Butler we generally see in Films. He does have elements of sensitivity in worrying about his son, but for the most part he is a typical Viking who thinks with his fists and his hammer.
Craig Ferguson offers the occasional laugh as Gobber, while the cast is ably support by America Ferreira of Ugly Betty Fame as the feisty love interest for Hiccup, Astrid. She is as headstrong as any of the men and learns from Hiccup that sometimes a beautiful mind and heart are as important as being strong.
Support roles go to Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill and Kristen Wiig as Hiccup's young friends, all are well known comedic actors, but all have small but important parts here, they discover that their Viking traditions and ways aren't necessarily right and that sometimes you have to be smart as well as strong. All three are perfect for their roles and are a perfect foil to Hiccup.
David Tennant and Ashley Jensen also pop up increasing the strong Scottish acting contingent in the film for small but amusing roles.
Overall the cast is excellent ,funny, charming and never overbearing or annoying in the way lots of voice acting can be.
Dreamworks pull another one out of the bag with this film, as the animation style is excellent, the characters look like cartoons but have enough realism to portray emotion when the story requires it, the backdrops are colourful, the dragons exciting and the film has a real sense of wonder about it, I really enjoyed the animation and felt it was both easy on the eye and intelligent.
The DVD is available for £6.99 on Amazon or £3.92 plus postage for a used copy.
I really enjoyed this film, I had read really good things about it almost everywhere but when I read the storyline it sounded a little dull and boring. It isn't at all, the animation is mesmerising, the acting is excellent and the storyline is enjoyable and well thought out without ever getting too complicated or relying on easy win situations. There is a moral to the story and a formulaic love story which works, overall it is a feed good film for the whole family, kids will love it and there is enough humour and heart to keep adults entertained also. The animation is great, the acting excellent and the story more than 2 dimensional offering a thoughtful and amusing experience for everyone.
Don't worry. You're small and you're weak. That'll make you less of a target! They'll see you as sick or insane and go after the more viking-like teens instead.
How to Train your Dragon:
I have been wanting to watch "How to Train your Dragon" ever since it came out in March 2010. For one reason or another I didn't get around to seeing it so when I was shopping on Amazon for something to watch over the Easter weekend I decided to buy it.
How to Train your Dragon tells the story of a young Viking called Hiccup. Hiccup isn't cut from the standard Viking mould but longs to prove himself to his community and most of all to the leader of his village who just happens to be his Dad. What Hiccup lacks in brute strength he makes up for in brains and makes some cool weaponry and one night during a raid on his village by Dragons he manages to take down an illusive "Night Terror"! After going to retrieve his kill so he can show the other Vikings he gets more than he bargained for and an unlikely friendship begins that leads both Hiccup and the Dragon to their true destinies.
The story in this film is unbelievably beautiful; it's a story about family, about fitting in and coming of age but most importantly it's a story about friendship. Even though this is technically a children's story there is a real depth to it that makes it a joy to watch.
All of the characters are well written and wonderfully portrayed, (I particularly like the role-playing nerd), and each and every one feels believable and is easy to warm to. Unlike a lot of films there aren't really any "baddies" which makes a refreshing change.
The film, (like a lot of children's films), touches on some serious issues and the way the Vikings treat the Dragons is clearly a reflection on humanity. Despite the mirror held up to humanity the film never feels preachy but instead is a wonderful piece of family cinematography that simply makes you think.
Dreamworks has excelled itself with the animation for this film. It's stylised but utterly beautiful with lot's of touches that make it so special. Every detail from the ripples on the ocean to the way the breeze moves the character's hair is meticulously animated. It's the attention to detail that makes this film so visually stunning.
I know I am at risk of using far too many superlatives in this review but the voice acting in this film is superb. From Jay Baruchel, (Knocked Up), who voices Hiccup to America Ferrera, (Ugly Betty), who is the voice of Astrix, (the love interest), every voice perfectly fits the character even though we all know that Vikings didn't really have Scottish accents!
I got my copy from Amazon for £5.99, (a serious bargain for such a great film), with free p&p. Play.com sells it for the same price also with free p&p. Asda is a little more expensive at £7.00 but there is the added convenience of getting it along with your weekly shop either in store or online.
I seriously recommend this film to anyone, even if you don't normally do "kid's" films this is a masterpiece that you really shouldn't miss.
Rated PG - "Contains frequent mild threat".
Running Time: 94 Minutes aprox.
This is a film only review of the non 3D version but my copy also has a behind the scenes documentary with the cast and the film makers.
I had heard fantastic things about this movie, and I remember it coming out in the cinema. Sadly I did not get a chance to go and watch it.
Anyway, I bought it on DVD and must say I was hooked from the start, watching how the young boy yearned to be a proper viking. The movie was predictable, yes, but certainly not boring in any way. The charatcer of Hiccup is developed very well, and we cannot help but feel for him, even though we laugh at his misfortunes. Also, when he meets toothless, I couldn't help but feel endeared to them both: how they both had something in common, they were both "weak". It was interesting to see how Hiccup manages to use his talent to help Toothless fly again and how their friendship develops. This story has a moral which I quite like, about not being afraid to be different. This film is great for kids and adults alike. It is a fantastic family movie, and I would highly recommend watching it if you haven't already!
I'm truly sorry that I went into this film with low expectations; it was wonderful. There have been so many CGI kids films released of late that its hard to filter out the good ones. I watched this just by chance, and I'm glad I did.
Hiccup (we'll let the stupid name go) is an oddball; not a fighter, he is an inventor, who thinks rather fights, much to the disgust of his warrior father. He is apprenticed to a blacksmith when his father looses faith in him, and using one of his inventions actually manages to snare one of the ferocious dragons that continues to attack his village. Being kind hearted - if not a bit of a coward - Hiccup hasn't the guts to kill the dragon, and instead releases it, where upon a charming and hilarious friendship ensues, when both Hiccup and his dragon - named Toothless - learn to overcome the boundaries set up by their ancestors and take on a bigger threat...
My one criticism; I'm pretty sure Vikings didn't have Scottish accents. But I'm also sure they didn't train dragons either, so we'll let it go this time!
Some of the action sequences are breath taking, especially when Toothless is in flight, I only wish I could have seen it on the big screen. The soundtrack was really well done and suited the film. This might not be Shrek, but I will certainly be enjoying it again and again. Who doesn't love a bit of good verses evil fantasy?
The Island of Berk populated by Vikings is pestered by killing dragons - those nasty flying reptiles that steal the Vikings' sheep and destroy villages. It's a tough life for someone who isn't strong enough to kill. A young Viking called Hiccup is exactly this kind. Dreaming to live up to his father's dreams, Hiccup attempts to kill a mysterious Night Fury dragon with his own invention, but only wounds it and cannot kill the defenseless creature. Hiccup finds out that Night Fury dragons are not described in the dragon handbook and decides to study the dragon gradually developing stronger and stronger bonds with it. Meanwhile, Hiccup's father sends him to the training camp where young Vikings learn how to kill (not tame!) dragons...
How to Train Your Dragon is a pretty controversial animation from DreamWorks. Despite the charming landscapes (the Island of Berk doesn't really look like a place where it snows 9 months and hails 3 months a year) and the fantastic flights that ideally should be seen on a big screen, I just kept on seeing a different story.
The young Vikings are a bunch of American students and Hiccup is of course secretly in love with the most beautiful girl in school, who, needless to say, is all cool and aggressive. The other Vikings are the usual stereotypes for the background and their dialogues are nothing more than word fillers to keep the story going ("You have to be yourself" and that sort of stuff).
One thing that particularly stopped me from connecting with the film were the badly matching voices, especially for Hiccup. Only the dragon sounded perfectly well. From the graphic point of view, I wouldn't say the characters were done extremely well. They seemed somewhat basic and plastic and only looked well in certain moments at certain angles, which made the animation look like a computer game at times. I think DreamWorks didn't bother to go beyond the formula and make extra effort, both design- and story-wise.
Taking into account the PG rating of the film, I was quite surprised to see such gloomy and serious war scenes in it. Half of the film the young Vikings are undergoing training to learn to kill dragons and then go to Iraq or Afghanistan - no, in fact, to some far off lands or the dragons' nest. This whole idea of war depicted in such a grown-up manner seemed very strange to me and I would think twice before showing this animation to children, especially taking into account the "welcome home, son!" end of it.
The only moments of pure joy for me were the dragon moments. Toothless (the dragon) is the same for this animation as the Joker for The Dark Knight. With many characteristics of a cat and a cat-like appearance, the dragon warmed its way to my heart better than any brutal, or hapless, or stupid Vikings. I only wish DreamWorks focused more on this dragon friendship thing rather than war. In fact, I really sympathise with the dragons as, according to the film, they have only 3 options - be killed, be slaves or be pets, which I think is against their wild nature. Where is the dragon democracy?
NB: This review is mirrored in my blog at www.artymind.com
I was a little disappointed by this cartoon at first, because many of the characters, although in theory "vikings," are in fact dressed up obnoxious American teenagers. I managed to get over this though, as once the hero of the story gets going, the other kids come round to his point of view, of course...
And 'hero' is the right word. The plot is, as usual for Hollywood-style adventure movies, the hero's journey, in which our hero is rejected and misunderstood by all, and has to redeem himself by being himself, and doing what he believes to be right. In this case our hero is a viking boy, but a weedy intellectual one. And he is in a world where his village is being attacked by dragons and the thing to be is a tough guy who can kill the dragons. Still, although nobody understands him, they are more-or-less tolerant of him, which is just as well, of course, as in the long run his brains are going to save the day when the monster granddaddy of all dragons emerges later in the film...
This movie isn't called 'How to Tame Your Dragon' for nothing, of course, and one of our hero's gadgets manages to down a Night Fury - a particularly fearsome type of dragon. However, nobody believes him and he goes off into the woods in search of the downed dragon by himself.
I'm giving nothing away by telling you that, of course, he finds the dragon, and it is not dead, just injured and tangled up in the remains of our hero's gadget. Instead of killing his nemesis, he frees it, and, by trusting his instincts and with the help of some fish, makes a new friend. The dragon itself is clearly modelled on a cat. This is a good basis for a dragon, I think: the cat-like nature of it gives it a great deal of charm and not a little dangerousness.
In psychological terms, the dragon presumably represents the hero's specialness - his uniqueness. When leaving home for the first time, as he did here, he is challenged (by meeting the dragon) and has to deal with it somehow (which he does by making friends with his special powers as symbolised by the dragon: he accepts who he is, and can therefore use his accepted abilities and uniqueness as needed, without shame, in future).
He returns to the village and has to join dragon-fighting school, but it turns out to everyone's surprise that he is a champion at dealing with dragons (having secretly tamed one) and he soon becomes recognized by all, except his father who is away on a dragon-hunting expedition. Psychologically, having accepted his personal power by taming the dragon, he has access to resources people without those abilities can't understand, but they can see the results clearly enough: he is growing up.
Well, I'm not going to tell you the whole story here! Suffice it to say that although his father tries to continue things in the old ways, still not getting the idea that his son has grown up, the mega-dragon is too much for them and only our hero can save the day... for which the reward is a better village, lots of nice dragon pets, and the local hot babe.
So... is it any good? Well, at first as I say, I was a little disappointed, but I came round in the end and particularly enjoyed the big battle at the end of the film between our hero, his friends and their tamed dragons, and the monster granddaddy of all dragons. There was one particularly memorable shot of the viking warriors on the ground watching this gigantic dragon climbing into the deep sky, far away, as the battle raged far above them. Certainly, it was a formula film; Hollywood seems capable of little else these days. But it was well done and enjoyable in the end. I would give it 7/10 overall. The cartoon quality was in the plasticky style of Shrek: it remains watchable but lacks some organic warmth, I feel. Many of the backgrounds were very nicely done, although the style varied from time-to-time throughout the film.
This review is also given on my blog, http://www.alphatucana.co.uk/blog/alphatucana.php
As a father of two young boys, I have over the last year started to become a connoisseur of films and DVD's aimed at the under 5's and the latest is a Dreamworks film called "How to train your dragon"
How to train your dragon tells the very simple tale of a young Viking called Hiccup, who is son of the village leader Stoik the vast, Hiccup is apprentice to the local smith and is more brain than brawn. The village which lies next to the sea is constantly harassed by dragons who steal their livestock and as hiccup says at the start of the film, the village has been here 7 generations but all the houses are new.
During one raid, Hiccup manages to bring down trough use of a piece of apparatus from his forge a night fury, night furies are dragons which are jet black, have never been seen and never miss their target. Hiccup bringing one down would have given him huge prestige but he can't bring himself to kill the dragon and instead starts to bond with the dragon he names Toothless. Toothless appears to be male and a young adult dragon as he has a sense of humour and a lack of tiredness, he and Hiccup soon learn to trust one another and when Hiccup starts dragon training learning from a real wild dragon becomes very useful.
This is classic coming of age fantasy storytelling; small boy of about 10-11 starts through working with the dragon to become a man and therefore a Viking of note. Of course, his father Stoik doesn't understand him and soon the two collide with their desires heading in different directions. Animations seem to have moved their lead males from being teenagers into the early pubescent boys, making them 10-11 shows that younger children can become enlightened and through observation and patience change their worlds.
The film soon takes a fairly predictable turn and boy and dragon are forced to face a huge dragon, which is in truth a T. rex with wings, that is a huge unthinking brute with little or no redeeming features. Only working together can they overcome and of course overcoming makes Stoik respect his son, you know it's going to happen and the film doesn't disappoint.
As with all Dreamworks films, the animation is a bit more rounded and less wholesome than those from Pixar and Disney, here the characters have a little more space to be creative and there are genuinely funny moments. Also the animation is crisp, sharp and the depiction of flames from the dragon feels real, this was originally a 3D release and I'm sad I missed it in the cinema because I suspect being flamed at by a dragon would have been fun.
The cast are largely unknown except Gerald Butler who voices Stoik, he has a broad Scottish accent and is an extension of his role in 300. I've yet to meet a Scot with that particular strong Scottish accent, they must be out there but it is the Scottish used by Hollywood so must be right of course. Why a Viking living somewhere on an island in the North Sea would have such an accent and is largely alone on that score is left unsaid.
All in all, a fun film visually appealing, the main character Hiccup is a character the audience can warm too and the film doesn't push the young boy against his dad's role model too much.
I wasn't particularly interested in this film to begin with, but after hearing that America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) would be providing the voice for one of the lead characters, it piqued my interest. Having also received 98% positive ratings on Rotten tomatoes, it seems like there's no reason NOT to watch this film!
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Young Viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) has always wanted the adventurous aspect of the Viking identity of slaying dragons, but is made by his father, Stoik (Gerald Butler) to help in his workshop and produce weapons instead of going on the front line. Looking stick thin compared to his bulky elders, Hiccup also has self-confidence issues, hiding his crush on Astrid (America Ferrera).
During one night, the dragons attack their village of Berk, and the elusive dragon, Night Fury, also strikes- a dragon noone has captured or killed before due to its invisibility. Hiccup, having an aspiration to be the first to slay this dragon, runs out with a cannon, aims and fires, successfully taking down the dragon. Curious but
scared, Hiccup finds the dragon but is unable to kill it and instead releases it.
Whilst Hiccup's father Stoik is out on a voyage, Hiccup is enrolled into a dragon slaying training, but he sneaks out to visit the Night Fury, as a clipped tail feather meant it couldn't fly away. Conquering fear, Hiccup manages to befriend this dragon he named Toothless and aids it to health by producing an artificial strap on tail feather and together, they train to regain Toothless flying ability.
With his new found friend, Hiccup must convince his father and the townspeople that dragons can be friends and tamed to their advantage, as an even bigger, even scarier dragon lurks nearby.
From the start of the film, we are plunged into the dragon attack scene which is fast paced and exciting. I was slightly annoyed by the accents to begin with, but that eased out as the film progressed. I was surprised how long it took for Hiccup to actually befriend Toothless (misleading trailer) and by the time they conquered flight, we were already halfway through the movie.
I have to say that the dragon slaying sections or the general Viking town sections of the movie bored me to death and this film is only rescued by the relationship of Hiccup and Toothless. There is a deep and meaningful relationship here and the animation for the pair is fantastic. In this way, I'm glad they prolonged their bonding and learning of each other.
Whilst it is interesting that the dragons' body shape and character resemble the humans, they are all pretty ugly and not of an impressive, scary kind. It was all rather silly and like something created from Spore. The only likeable dragon is Toothless, which I can say is the cutest creature of the year. The Despicable Me alien thingees are pure annoying.
The ending and final showdown was rather predictable and as always, you know the lead characters will not die. However, what happened to Hiccup REALLY shocked me and I'm surprised it was included in this film. We know Pixar tug at peoples' heartstrings, but who knew Dreamworks could reciprocate? The way they also turned this negative result into a hopeful and positive perspective is to be praised.
This is definitely a contender to Disney Pixar. They have a strong if predictable storyline, some funny lines, an immensely cute creature, beautiful aesthetics during the flying scene (which reminded me of the courting scene in Wall-E) and a shocking, heart wrenching ending that sheds hope to all. Watch Out! This is a strong contender for the Academy Awards.
Hiccup- Jay Baruchel
Astrid- America Ferrera
Stoik- Gerard Butler
Other voices include Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill and Kristen Wiig.
Jay Baruchel's voice is almost perfect for this character whilst America Fererra and Gerard Butler's voices synched really well and you almost couldn't tell it was them unless told.
Despite some boring and unappealing Viking parts, the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless shines through and teamed with great visuals and a moving ending, makes this film wholly enjoyable. Now where can I get a big Toothless soft toy? Finally, a worthy rival to Disney Pixar.
Let's just hope their upcoming sequel will be just as moving and visually spectacular.
Our local cinema does a special weekend budget film, and this is the one that my son and I decided to go and watch the other week. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect, and hadn't really seen any ads for it, but knowing it was from the makers of Shrek, I figured it would at least have some certain quality about it.
Basically, it's an animated film that features a young Viking called Hiccup, son of the leader of a clan of Vikings whose village is under constant plunder and attack from dragons. They consider the dragons to be as normal as you and I would consider rain, really, and they prepare for it, fight the dragons and quite often are successful.
However, Hiccup is a bit of a loser, to say the least, so when he manages to bring down the most fearsome of all dragons, a Nightfury, no one believes him. What ensues is one boy's quest to find approval and praise from his people that turns into the most unlikely of friendships and an alliance that is sorely needed when danger strikes!
What I loved about this film wasn't the animation or the clever one liners: it was the plot. Usually, I don't necessarily say that about animations, as I feel they do rely heavily on the visual impressions and the well written script in terms of the dialogue and the linking of everything. Here, though, the general plot is the winner. As Hiccup befriends the Nightfury, it's a case of watching the friendship blossom, and bringing forth a number of messages about living in harmony, and looking at why the dragons attack the village all the time.
The plot has been well worked out, and there are also a number of feel good moments throughout the film. Rarely do I go to see a kids film at the cinema and sit on the edge of my seat wanting to pump my fist and shout 'Yes!' at the screen, but I must say I was very guilty of muttering 'Go, Toothless!' at one point in the film. Its level of excitement and adventure is brilliantly given across to the audience indeed.
Add to this the other elements of the film, and consider that the Vikings' fear of dragons transcends the opinion of a loser boy, and Hiccup has to keep things quiet, not able to reveal his new friendship. He agrees to go on dragon fighting training with the others his age, and the characters involved in this are very well done. The other kids he trains with are well created indeed, and the comedy value for the film comes from them, be it the arguing twins, the meathead bully, the perfect girl or the timid big guy. The group of them are brilliant as a character collective, and it must have been real fun trying to script the scenes where they're training.
Voices are well chosen, with names such as Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill and America Ferrara in the mix. As with other films, Butler's accent once more intrigued me, as a sort of accent lost somewhere in the sea between Scotland, Ireland and America. I suppose it makes him instantly recognisable, but he was quite good as the chief of the village, Hiccup's father. Jay Baruchel voices Hiccup, and does so very well, and the others are all good, with Hill getting the best of the lines, to be honest.
Overall, the film was very well balanced, and thoroughly enjoyable. I would highly recommend anyone going to see it. We laughed and were entertained from start to finish. The story pitches very well at kids of most ages, and even though there are a couple of scarier moments for the younger kids, my 6 year old didn't bat an eyelid, and the dragons aren't exactly made out to be overly scary aside from one quick scene, which is interlaced with comedy anyway. It's out now on DVD, I believe, and it's certainly one I'll be buying once the initial price starts to drop. Recommended.
How to Train Your Dragon was released in the cinema a month or so ago, and wil be arriving shortly on DVD. Keep checking Amazon for a release date as they're usually one of the first to know. At the cinema, this was rated PG, though the DVD does not yet have an age certificate. I would imagine it will be the same certificate as it was at the cinema though?!
This film tells the story of a young viking called Hiccup who doesn't want to hurt and slay dragons like the rest of his clan do. It's a bit of a problem for him as the son of the head honcho really, especially as he's a bit of a clumsy disappointment in general. It isn't long before our unlikely hero just 'happens' upon the last ever rare dragon in existance, a nightfury. Instead of slaying him to bring him in as he should do, he befriends him and slowly learns how to train dragons instead of slaying them.
You can imagine the sort of ending this film has, it's all pretty bog-standard happy-ending stuff. I won't spoil it completely by going into details though! This film is aimed at children and families, and as such they've kept to a simple storyline throughout. It's an original take on the old classic odd-one-out hero tale though, how many films do you know which include taming flying dragons after all?
As this film is from the makers of Shrek, I'm sure you can imagine what the animations are like. I was really impressed with the general standard of the characters, especially the dragons. The animations are all colourful, vivid and detailed as well as believable and appealing. I'm not usually a fan of kid's films, but I found myself enthralled by this from start to finish. The fire and volcano animation parts are particularly impressive and will have little boys gasping in aww.
Finally, I enjoyed the gentle humour in this film. The grandson didn't understand a lot of this because of his autism, but even he appreciated the visual slap-stick gags which were plentiful in this film. All in all this is a must-see famlly film, especially if you liked Shrek (same makers, similar style). This will appeal to both boys and girls, and is one of those films that most parents will happily sit and enjoy alongside the kids too.
I went to the cinema with my 10 year old who had been desperate to see the film having read the book by Cressida Cresswell, about 4 times.
It was in 3 D and so we had to purchase the 3D glasses to enable us to view the film. Popcorn and drinks in hand we settled down to watch it.
The film engrossed my 10 year and I having not read the book also watched with interest.
The star of the film is a weedy type character, Hiccup who is not really into the killing of dragons but in to the training of them.
The moral of the story is not to judge someones actions till you understand the reason for them.
My son who was entralled throughout the picture on asking 'did he enjoy it ?' reply was that it differs from the book and we was a little disappointed. However we wants it on DVD when it is released so it can't be that disappointing!!
I took my daughter to see this yesterday as it was her 4th birthday and she was desperate to see it. Although I wouldn't go to see films like this without children, I do always enjoy watching them when I take my two girls and this film was no different - I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.
The film follows a town of Vikings on the Island of Berk and a young boy called Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) who is determined to gain his father, Stoik's (Gerard Butler) respect. Hiccup isn't like all the other Vikings, who are macho and unafraid of danger and in particular dragons, Hiccup is unassuming and eager to please but definitely not macho. The village is facing a constant battle with the dragons who terrorise their town daily, but the Vikings refuse to give up easily and put up a fight in retaliation.
The film introduces the various types of dragons and how easy they are to kill, but it is the mysterious Night Fury dragons that fascinate Hiccup. He is determined to be the first to catch one, and definitely the first to kill one, but when he is given the opportunity early on in the film, he finds it a difficult task to face. He soon befriends the wounded dragon and uses his expertise in his fathers workshop and builds him a new tail fin out of leather. He calls the dragon 'Toothless ' because of his retractable teeth and spends all of his spare time with him, learning how wrong the Vikings are about dragons and how little they know about them. Nobody in the village knows about his new friend and Hiccup has to keep it that way.
Meanwhile, his father has signed him up for dragon training, where he will learn how to fight dragons and ultimately how to kill them. Hiccup surprises everybody and does well in training, but the villagers don't realise how or why he is doing so well....
A really good childrens animation, which I thoroughly enjoyed throughout. Several jokes and innuendo's were made throughout the film, which keeps the adults engaged and perhaps goes slightly over the childrens head. A fun story with a good message of friendship. The storyline was enough to keep the film going, but the animation was so good that it perhaps wouldn't have mattered if the storyline was a little weak (which it wasn't!).
We also took our 2 year old (both our children are quite into movies!), and there were a few jumpy bits with a fierce looking dragon that made her practically jump out of her skin, so do be warned in case you take young children to see this.
Runtime: 98 minutes
Release Date: 31 March 2010
Jay Baruchel: Hiccup
Geard Butler: Stoick
Craig Ferhuson: Gobber
America Ferrera: Astrid
Jonah Hill: Snotlout
Although this film initially looks like it will only really appeal to kids, it's so much more than that and would appeal to all ages.
The story basically describes a village inhabited by vikings (that have scottish accents for some strange reason!) and also is plagued by dragons who steal sheep, fish and any other food they can get their talons into!
The main occupation in the villiage is that of dragon hunter. The main character "hiccup" is a scrawny boy, unlike anyone else in the village (who are all larger built and rough around the edges). In the village, a person's status is wholly dependent on how good they are at dragon slaying. All of the dragons are listed and documented in a book except for the infamous nightfury, said to be the most dangerous of them all . Hiccup invents a machine that throws a weighted rope weapon and, one night when the village is busy with a dragon attack he sees a nightfury and fires the weapon at it - the dragon goes down but unfortunately no one believes hiccup as they did not see this.
The next day, hiccup finds the dragon but he finds he can't kill it. The dragon has a damaged tail and so cannot fly. Over time, hiccup and the dragon develop a friendship- hiccup invents a tail part that helps the dragon to fly.
This friendship allows hiccup a whole new perspective and understanding of the dragons but also causes some extra complications with his village!
An absolutley brilliant film - visually amazing and wry humour throughout. Also anyone who has a cat will appreciate the behaviour of the main dragon character!!