Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Movie Log: How to Train Your Dragon

Every month or two, there's an animated movie that drags out all of the old cliches, props them up shamelessly, and makes a giant pile of money. This month, that's How to Train Your Dragon.

It has the requisite young man, a bit too sensitive for his rough-and-tumble society (in this case, a gang of resolutely ahistorical Vikings living on an inhospitable rocky island and constantly besieged by a dazzling array of immense dragons). It has the huge change that this society must undergo, which is first utterly inconceivable but then happens instantly once the young man is seen as the hero he so obviously is. And it has a whole lot of talking-about-the-relationship conversations, between the young man and his stereotypically successful and masculine father, between young man and the tougher-than-him young woman whom we all know he will eventually win. And it has the amazingly wonderful thing that the young man discovers -- a dragon, in this case, a totally unknown and ultrafast dragon that no one has ever even been able to learn anything about -- which leads him to learn the true secrets of his world, develop his hidden (and totally awesome) skills, and save everyone he's ever known in the big action sequence at the end.

In short, if there had been any doubt that animated movies today are made entirely by geeks who still haven't gotten over being picked last for kickball, How to Train Your Dragon provides yet another object lesson. It does its job pretty well, though no care was taken to give these "Vikings" even vaguely consistent accents -- at least the anachronistic jokes were kept to a bare minimum. The animation is quite nice, and this new 3D process is still stunning -- though the price of the tickets ($50 for a family of four) was also stunning in its own way. But as a story, Train Your Dragon is a big disappointment.
Listening to: Demander - Math
via FoxyTunes


Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I loved this movie. You're right, there were no surprises to the story, but handle the formula right and sometimes magic happens. It had two formulas I love, story of boy and his father and story of boy and his dog (dragon). Dreamworks finally left out all the anachronistic crap and pop culture references that they try so hard to make popular for adults. You also only slightly touched on how visually stunning this film was, esp. in 3D. You have to admit, the animators really kicked ass on this one.

Anonymous said...

I, too, agree the story was formulaic, but as an artist, the movie won me over with its great animation. The look on Hiccup's Dad's face after he exits the room where they've had "the talk"---there's many a live actor who couldn't have pulled that off as well. Just incredibly subtle acting for animated characters. Can't wait to see it again, this time in 3D.

Jeff P.

i3lh4m said...

I recommend this movie who love 3D animation this much

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