DreamWorks Review: How to Train Your Dragon

DreamWorks Animation's 19th feature film
DreamWorks Animation’s 19th feature film

Watch Full Movie ON LINK

My Opinion right after watching movie

My opinion of the movie is that it is great, the character are all likable and understandable, there are a lot if details in the story, and it is so easy to get invested into. You want to see more of this world and the characters, which is fantastic.

Production

This film started development around 2006 after Over the Hedge was completed, but it was on DreamWork’s mind since 2004. Apparently, Lilo and Stitch directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois took over and changed the entire production. The original script was very close to the book, but that changed when the above entered the project, because it was too kiddy and sweet.

Toothless was modeled after Stitch from Lilo and Stitch, and he was originally going to be a smaller dragon. His noises are a combination of a bunch of animal and machine noises.

Story

So the story starts with the village of Berk is suffering from a dragon attack and the town screw-up Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) tries to help out, and captures a dragon, but fucks up the entire town instead. His father Stoick the Vast  Fergus (Gererd Butler) saves him from getting eaten by a dragon, and is upset at him.

Hey Fergus.
Hey Fergus.

His father tells him that he is not a dragon slayer and should stop trying to be and act like one, which others tell him as well. Fergus calls a group meeting about going to the Dragon’s nest to get rid of the dragons, and a good amount leaves with him. Problem….

So how are oyu and a bunch of vikings supposed to go to a Dragon's Nest to kill a bunch of htem, when YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE IT IS? Isn't ti ideal to find it before sending a bunch of men out there?
So how are you and a bunch of vikings supposed to go to a Dragon’s Nest to kill a bunch of them, when YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE IT IS? Isn’t it ideal to find it before sending a bunch of men out there?

Fergus sends Hiccup to the Dragon School to discipline him, and so he won’t destroy the island while he is gone. Hiccup does not take the news well only because he just realized that he cannot kill dragons when he tried to kill Toothless, but his father tells him that it is time for him to prove himself.

He starts training and automatically does not fit in with the other students. So he continues training and visits Toothless, learning a bunch about Dragons.

This si actually pretty smart of them to do. They did not have to do a wimp-turned into a buff kick-ass Superman. Like I have said in the past, small details like this make a big difference in films.
This is actually pretty smart of them to do. They did not have to do a wimp-turned into a buff kick-ass Superman in this film. Like I have said in the past, small details like this make a big difference in films.

Unlike his colleagues, he reads an all about Dragons book, which he uses to his advantage. So to cut things short, as his relationship with Toothless bond, he learns more about Dragons and wins matches against his colleagues, pissing them off. He eventually study other Dragons as well, as they take a liking to him.

How to Train Your Dragon

One night, Astrid (America Ferrera) checks up on him out of curiosity and a bit mad that he is the best student, but he manages to get away thus Toothless. Presumably the next morning, Fergus and his group of vikings return from their quest which they clearly failed on (DUH), and Fergus is excited that his son is now the top student in his class, and they now have something to bond over, but failing. Hiccup thought that his father found out about him bonding with dragons, but is clearly wrong.

Awkward....
Awkward….

The Stunts are competing for a chance to kill a Dragon, and Astrid is more than determined to make sure that she wins, but grows extremely frustrated that Hiccup won again, and flips when he says he has to go somewhere. She follows him and finds out he is a dragon lover.

So Toothless forces them to go on a fly for an entire evening and she admits that it is pretty cool. They are flying and talking about the final exam, and Toothless takes them to the Dragon’s Nest after hearing he is going to have to kill a Dragon. So they find out that there is a huge, alpha dragon and escapes from it. This then establishes the contrived relationship of Astrid and Hiccup.

REALLY? These two are a nice couple, I'll give them that, but couldn't they get a better build up? For the entire 50 minutes before this, she despised hima nd thinks he is nothing more than a pathetic loser and then now she is dangerously in love with him? Goodness. We know you can do relationships well DreamWorks (though oyu have not given us many good ones), which has been proven by...
REALLY? These two are a nice couple, I’ll give them that, but couldn’t they get a better build up? Sure he had a crush on her for the entire movie, but for the entire 50 minutes before this, she despised him and thinks he is nothing more than a pathetic loser and then now she is dangerously in love with him? Goodness. We know you can do relationships well DreamWorks (though you have not given us many good ones), which has been proven by…
Them, but we have also gotten couples, like...
Them, but we have also gotten couples, like…
You cannot tell me otherwise. They are not Disney.
Couple that just blow one another and have sex only, but we are supposed to believe that they are a match made in heaven
The most contrived couple ever put on screen.
The most contrived couple ever put on screen.
Not as bad,but still..
Not as bad,but still..
Not even gonna waste a comment.
Not even gonna waste a comment.

So it is the day of the final exam, where Hiccup is supposed to kill a dragon, which almost beats his ass up, but Toothless arrives to beat up the Dragon. The vikings hop in to kill the dragons, but Fergus soon realizes that Hiccup trained the dragon and is furious that he turned into a dragon lover, and disowns him.

They are ready to scrap.
They are ready to scrap.

So I am gonna recap the climax in a jiffy, they find the Dragon’s Nest, the alpha dragon whoops some ass, Hiccup and his crew show up on Dragons to stop the war, Toothless and Hiccup kill the Alpa Dragon, they almost drown but gets saved by Fergus, and we are shown this.

Oh my goodness, I was shocked that they did this. Well, DreamWorks is about embracing imperfection and is the ONLY point I give above WDAS. Interesting twist.
Oh my goodness, I was shocked that they did this. Well, DreamWorks is about embracing imperfection and is the ONLY point I give above WDAS. Interesting twist.

Well, he steps outside and struggles to walk to find the villain dragon-ified and dragon-friendly. Him and his crew fly around the sky, and it is weird that I am actually looking forward to a sequel to a DreamWorks movie.

The story and plot is very detailed, and very investible. It actually makes sense, which is rare for DreamWorks, the world they created is so fascinating, and I am looking forward to see more of this world, which says a lot.
The story and plot are very detailed, and very investible. It actually makes sense, which is rare for DreamWorks, the world they created is so fascinating, and I am looking forward to see more of this world, which says a lot.

Characters

The characters that are actually important are extremely likable. The ones that are minor (and there are a lot), they are alright.

Hiccup is extremely likable and relatable. He is extremely smart, an underdog, and determined, but for some reason, he does not feel recycled though his type of character and arc is. He develops into a more confident person and more secure with himself.
Hiccup is extremely likable and relatable. He is extremely smart, an underdog, and determined, but for some reason, he does not feel recycled though his type of character and arc is. He develops into a more confident person and more secure with himself.
I actually remembered his name, apparently it is Stoick the Vast. He is the strict, not really that loving, and a tough viking, though learns to appreciate.
I actually remembered his name, apparently it is Stoick the Vast. He is the strict, not really that loving, and a tough viking, though learns to appreciate.
Oh, I forgot about him. He is aiight.
Oh, I forgot about him. He is aiight.
He reminds me of Stitch (DUH). He is a bit aggressive, but loving, and curious.
He reminds me of Stitch (DUH). He is a bit aggressive, but loving, and curious.
Astrid is tough and kick-ass, but is also a bit girly. She is likable as well.
Astrid is tough and kick-ass, but is also a bit girly. She is likable as well.
Fishlegs is a weird type of smart, just randomly blurting out facts. He is cool though minor.
Fishlegs is a weird type of smart, just randomly blurting out facts. He is cool though minor.
Eh. Forgettable.
Eh. Forgettable.
Annoying.
Annoying.

Animation

The Animation is brilliant. There is so much texture in the hair of the humans, the scales on the dragons, the landscapes, and even the skin on the humans. The motion scenes work really well, and it is just good, though the color scheme is always a bit too dark, but that is a nitpick.

Music

There are no songs in the movie, but the score is very good, and does its job well. It was done by DreamWorks regular, John Powell.

Reception at Release

When this film was released in theaters on March 26th, 2013, it topped the box office. Overall, it made $217,581,231 domestically, and $277,297,528 internationally, earning a total amount of $494,878,759. This is the highest domestic box office results outside of the Shrek series. It is the 5th highest-grossing animated film of 2010 behind Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After, Tangeld, and Despicable Me, and is the 10th highest-grossing film of 2010. 2010 was a really good year for animated films now that I am thinking about it.

Critically, it was PRAISED. It is currently the highest-received film out of the canon and has 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. People liked it for its depth (which we all know is rare with DreamWorks), characters, animation, motion, story, so practically everything about it. A lot consider this to be the Magnum Opus of DreamWorks Animation.

When it came to the awards, it was nominated for A LOT but because of the competition of that year, it lost the majority to Toy Story 3. It was nominated for 2 Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score, nominated for 4 Annies, and won 8 (including Best Animated Feature). It was nominated and won some other awards as well.

Reception Today

Well, because DreamWorks was proud of its performance in the box office, they granted 2 sequels which are in development, with How To Train Your Dragon being released on June 13th, 2014, and another one released on 2016. It also granted a spin-off series, called DreamWorks Dragons, which is on its 2nd season. People started to take DreamWorks seriously again.

Final Score

Story = 8.5/10

Characters = 7.5/10

Music = 7.5/10

Animation = 9.5/10

=33/40=  83% 

Next Time……

Review: November 12th, 2013
Review: November 12th, 2013
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11 thoughts on “DreamWorks Review: How to Train Your Dragon

  1. It’s a really good movie, I consider it slightly overrated though. For one, there is this stupid voice-over. It’s a cheap way of getting as many fact as possible out, and it is by far not as clever as the writers apparently though. Especially all the talk about how hard the live in Berk is, is a typical example of telling but not showing considering that the only thing we do see is a lot of green.

    Also I think that hiccup’s voice is annoying…the first five minutes he reminded me uncomfortably of Taran (the black cauldron)…thankfully the character gets better and better late in the movie.

    I also agree about the contrived romance…and really, why does it have to be a romance? Why does he have to be in love? Can’t it be a simple rivalry which turns into friendship later on?

    I also think that it was kind of a cheap trick to go for the “bigger enemy” to make peace with the dragons possible.

    What I do love, though, are the more silent scenes between hiccup and toothless. They are beautifully done. Most (but not all) scenes dealing with his relationship with his father work too. (Okay this is kind of a sacrilege, but as much as I don’t like the movie, I think Chicken Little did it better by making a point that the love of a father shouldn’t be conditional).

    It is a really good movie. But one of the best animated movies of all times like some people say? I don’t think so. I think it was just so surprising to see something like this coming from DreamWorks, a movie which pushes the envelope a little bit, has some deep emotions and avoids pop-cultural jokes.

    1. Thanks you too for all the support. While I agree that it is a good movie, it is not one of the best animated films out there. They throw way too am h cliches that hold it back from being unique.

      I do agree about Hiccup’s voice and it did take me some getting used to, but it is not as grating as Jack Frost’s voice (already wrote the review for it.)

      The romance is so contrived, and since you know I had to throw in a dig, they are better than the abominable ones mentioned. It really did not need to be a romance and they should have done better with it.

      I do agree with the talking over showing thing especially at the beginning. The uber fans really overrate it, and ai honestly think Tangled is better than it. They act this movie is the best thing to ever exist. I am looking forward to the sequel though.

      1. Tangled is definitely better…it’s obvious in the first few minutes, because this movie actually knows how to do a voice-over right. Plus, in this case there was a good reason to use it, while honestly, you could just remove the voice over of How to train your dragon and there would be no important information missing.

        Mmmm…I wanted to watch this movie this Christmas, so I can’t judge Jack Frost yet.

        I would put How to train your dragon on a level with movies like Rescuers Down Under, Cars or The Fox and the Hound. There is a lot to love in them, but also a lot which could have done better.

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