How To Train Your Dragon is the latest offering from the venerable Dreamworks Animation. DWA is second only to Disney Pixar (Pixar themselves second to none) in the CG animated feature film field. They have brought us great stories like Shrek and ANTZ.

What I Liked

Full disclosure: as a CG artist myself, I have dabbled in a lot of the tools and techniques used in these films. The noteworthy exception is that a feature film is staffed by the talents of dozens of the worlds best artists and technicians. I’m a fanboy of the craft, so take my “angle” for what it’s worth.

  • The visuals are stunning throughout. Textures, atmosphere, stylized – yet seemingly authentic Viking imagery – are simply breathtaking. The scale of pivotal scenes like the “boss battle” with the Queen Bee dragon and the swarming hordes of cartoon Vikings (all evidently unique – or at least not noticeably repeated instances as in video game crowds) is simply compelling.
  • Fur and hair are lushly rendered and sported by engagingly designed characters.

What I Didn’t Like

  • I can’t shake the feeling that this has all been done before – the misfit “fish out of water” slight Viking child named Hiccup who longs only for his father’s approval and subsequently saves the day. How many times must we pay to see the Hero’s Journey remade?
  • It was short on genuine laughs with only a couple of chuckles – mostly juvenile.

Best LOL Jokes (Spoilers!)

There were no big laughs, at least for the parents., sadly no bullet list this time around. Is it really that hard to write comedy in feature animated films? The Toy Story 3 preview preceding this film was funnier.

Parental Watch-outs

None to really be concerned about. “Hell” is used one more than one occasion if you are that concerned about language.

Overall Grade: B

Even though I had a good time seeing it, with a premium paid for the 3D experience – I would like to see something more original and enduring. Do to unfortunate timing with Avatar, the scenes of flying on a dragon would have seemed more unique, but only served to take me “out of” the film.