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How To Train Your Dragon

How To Train Your Dragon

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE latest family offering from DreamWorks’ Animation is arguably their best effort yet… an often awe-inspiring spectacle that works on both an epic and intimate scale.

Based on the popular books by Cressida Cowell, How To Train Your Dragon follows the fortunes of hapless Viking teenager Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), who struggles to win the admiration of his father (Gerard Butler) while turning himself into a successful dragon slayer.

When Hiccup accidentally manages to shoot one down, however, he unexpectedly develops a friendship with the fire-breathing beast and comes to question his tribe’s attitudes towards dragons as a whole, while understanding the dark reason behind their repeated attacks on his village.

Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, How To Train Your Dragon is part coming-of-age story, part epic-adventure and part father-son bonding experience – but it engages on every level.

It’s by far and away one of the most spectacular animated movies to have emerged from the DreamWorks fold for some time and demands to be seen – and savoured – on the big screen (preferably in IMAX 3D).

But it never loses sight of the classic storytelling values underpinning it, thriving on the relationships that sit comfortably alongside the spectacle.

Hence, Hiccup’s growing bond with the mystical Night Wing dragon Toothless is both touching and amusing… while his scenes with his father are similarly poignant and funny. You’ll root for him as a central character.

Toothless, the dragon, meanwhile is a wonderfully rich creation – expressive and spectacular, he’s sure to capture the heart of every viewer, young and old.

The flying and battle sequences, meanwhile, are breathtaking and provide further glowing testament to the boundless creativity inherent within the animated genre.

Coming from a studio whose other hits include the Shrek franchise (the first two films at any rate!), Kung-Fu Panda and Monsters Vs Aliens, it’s no small compliment to suggest that How To Train Your Dragon represents possibly their finest achievement yet.

Certificate: PG
Running time: tbc
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: November 15, 2010