How To Train Your Dragon talkback

Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon opens today – and we want you to go out and see it. And after you see it we want your opinions, comments and reviews – pro or con – in our comments section below.


  • MattSullivan

    Awesome. Just a lot of fun. I think it’s the best film their animation department has done.

    Well done anyone involved. This is a great movie.

  • Chris

    Amazing! Thanks to everyone who worked on this, it was a great time with my girlfriend last night! She loved it!
    Part of me hopes Lasseter is eating his hawaiian shirt right now over letting Sanders and Deblois migrate to another studio. I guarantee they have what it takes to really bring 2-D back to Disney. Congrats guys!!

  • http://www.karmatoons.com Doug Compton

    Best Dreamworks movie EVER.

  • Matthew

    Its a really really great film. I loved it, and my wife and kids loved it. There is a really good balance between funny moments, touching moments, and action moments, AND its gorgeous to boot. The 3D really works and its not gimmicky at all, it just adds depth and never throws anything in your face. And it has none of the potty humor we have come to expect from some of the typical Dreamworks products – its just a really good story.

  • http://twitter.com/danny_shea Danny Shea

    How To Train Your Dragon definitely sits atop the pile at Dreamworks; this is their best animated film to date.

    I’d like to believe that this is because Dragon is a director driven picture, but I who knows for sure. Whatever you did, keep it up! We need more quality animated features coming our way!

  • http://www.captainkyleb.tumblr.com Kyle

    Great film! One of the best Dreamworks has produced. Chris Sanders and Dean DuBois did a great job with the film. The animation was great, the story was great, and the writing was great. There were some points where the voice acting stood out like a sore thumb, but it didn’t detract from the film for very long. I hope Dreamworks continues to make more films like it!

  • Josh

    Without a doubt Dreamworks’ best animated film to date, more films like this from now on thanks Dreamworks (ie genuine characters, low to no pop culture references or crude humour and charming story).

    The 3D experience pushed this onto another level entirely and really added to the believability of the film.

    …..looks at Megamind teaser….oh Dreamworks, I thought you’d learned something after Kung Fu Panda….it would seem that How to Train Your Dragon is just a rare exception to the trashy Dreamworks norm.

  • Rock

    Saw it last night and liked it a lot. It was exciting, charming and beautiful. The music was also fantastic. I think as far as stories go though, this one begins to show its seams near the halfway point of the film. A big issue for me was that the major revelation concerning the nature of dragons, the one that drives the entire third act, is ambiguous and ultimately unsatisfying. Regardless, it is definitely a wonderful experience and shouldn’t be missed.

  • Ethan

    Loved it!

    Bravo to the whole team, specially Dean and Chris, it is an amazing, wonderful, beautiful, impressive, superb film. If my english was better I’d have more adjectives. Great animation and character design, great script, great visuals (the smoke, flames, clouds, RBDs, lighting, background and environments, clothes, hair), great soundtrack. A few rough edges in the screenplay (the Astrid/Hiccup love story felt rushed, some secondary characters are not developed at all), but the rest makes up for it, including the great surprising epilogue, and the masterful avoidance of cliches.

    please… dreamworks execs…. green light MORE OF THOSE !

  • http://flimflammery.com Bill

    Absolutely loved it. The animation on Toothless blew my mind, so props ot whoever did that. The combination of Chris Sanders, Nico Marlet, and Roger Deakins is a match made in heaven. Pleeeease Dreamworks, make more films like this!

  • Adam

    I agree with all the posts so far that it’s a wonderful film — definitely Dreamworks’ best so far.

    I also wanted to say we should be giving credit to more than just Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. They did an amazing job, for sure, but there was a large team of artists working for 4 years before they came on board. Like, Nico Marlet’s character designs… Pierre Olivier Vincent’s visual world… Simon Otto’s animation. Thankfully Chris, Dean and Alessandro Carloni were able to take the best parts of what was there before they joined, and fuse it with their new direction, to turn it into what it ultimately became. Great job, everyone!

  • Deed

    One of the best animated films of all time…

    Is Amid going to post his opinion after seeing the film?

  • http://Mr.FunsBlog Floyd Norman

    I had the opportunity to congratulate many of the film makers this week. Simon Otto, Alessandro Carloni and others. What a job they’ve done.

    First Kung Fu Panda and now this. You’re doing it right, DreamWorks.

  • Lisette

    well, over all I really liked it and thought it was a nice movie.
    But I don’t think it’s the best Dreamworks can do.
    I had a lot of issues trying to like the girl character, I felt she wasn’t strong at all in the story.
    The ‘competition’ she and Hiccup have isn’t never really there, could have being much more interesting like… Hiccup’s father treating her like the son he always wanted, I don’t know.. things like that.

    And I think all the kids didn’t help the story at all, and actually they kind of took a lot of time and personality that could be used in the girl.

    I think the Dragon was the best of the movie.
    And I didn’t like AT ALL that the dragons were used as pets at the end… LET THEM FREE DAMMIT :DDD

    Over all my issues are with the screenplay and the development of each character, there was a LOT of personality but I couldn’t feel affection for them, or felt like I could be in their shoes.. except for the dragon
    The Animation, lights, effects, art, all of that was great… as always.

    Anyway, it was a nice movie. But that’s all

    for me. :D

    ….
    I didn’t like the Megamind teaser

  • McKenzie Kerman

    Best DreamWorks Film to date.

  • doop

    I don’t give a **** if stuff like Megamind gets made, as long as we keep getting spectacular films like Dragon, it doesn’t matter. Honestly, you’d have to be insane to condemn Dreamworks if it’s housing the likes of people that made Dragons and Panda. Dragons is definitely on the top of my list of films I’ve seen in a while, congrats Dreamworks!

  • http://brokenghost.blogspot.com Robert Iza

    I really enjoyed this film! I agree with much of the praise, and think it’s definitely one of Dreamworks best films! The design and animation and overall feel is pretty great, Especially the Dragons!

    Congrats to all who worked on the film!

  • Casper the friendly executive.

    Now go read the book. It’s a good book. I read it five years ago.

    …I just wanted to point out that once a writer wrote a book that had something to do with this.

  • Gary Conrad

    It’s superb.

  • http://www.sfs.org.sg/animation Dave

    Great movie. The flight scenes were bloody amazing, and the wordless bonding scenes between Hiccup and Toothache reminded me of those from The Black Stallion.

  • Thomas Dee

    It was great! I can’t wait for Shrek 4 and Mastermind now! You’re doing it right, Dreamwerks.

  • dom giansante

    Really fantastic from beginning to end…visually beautiful. The story could have been deeper…the characters could have had more development, but i know they were so excited to get this one done, they simply overlooked it. Congrats to dreamworks for an awesome ride.

  • Markus

    Dreamworks is the king of the hill of animation now with How to Train your Dragon. Most sophisticated cinematography in an animated movie ever. Good Job Dreamworks!

  • http://www.ovinedelcu.com ovi

    this movie is amazing. well done.

  • Toby Prince

    Yeah I agree with a lot here, i think it was a great movie and is at the top of dreamworks films for me. I really enjoyed the story and it kept me drawn in throughout the whole film and the animation, design and look of the film was great too.
    I also thought stereoscope ’3D’ was done really well. I remember seeing MVA in 3D and it was just distracting and annoying, where this time it felt like it added to the experience of seeing the film at the cinema.

  • Bernie

    Fantastic!!!! One of Dreamworks best!!!

    Congratulations for a great story and a movie that would never get old.

    If you have not watch it yet, GO RIGHT NOW!!!!

  • hannah

    I loved it!~ I’m sure the art book will be a MUST BUY

  • http://dmgermain.blogspot.com David Germain

    I do agree that this movie is a sign that Dreamworks is getting better. It was a nicely told story featuring characters you didn’t really want too strangle. That was nice to see.

    It still has a few of the “classic” Dreamworks problems such as using celebrities for voices that could easily be one by professional voice actors (and done much much better), and displaying their ass-backwards philosophy that “animation needs to resemble live action as close as possible”. But, none of that stooped from enjoying myself.

    The only other problem I had seeing this movie was not at all Dreamworks’ fault. I was surrounded by bratty kids who have never been taught to watch a movie. It wasn’t just the toddles getting out of their seats for bathrooms breaks and talking loudly, some in their early teens were doing this as well. This is definitely a sign that modern parenting needs an overhaul.

  • http://foadghorbani.blogspot.com/ Foad

    Amazing! I loved characters and story as well. I cant wait to see Shrek 4!

  • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber Dunipace

    It’s hard for me to pick between Panda and Dragon for my favorite Dreamworks film. That’s a good problem to have. Way to go Dreamworks!

  • Greg

    A W E S O M E L Y
    A M A Z I N G !

  • John

    I didn’t think it was that good. It looked pretty good, but the story was stock standard and predicatable, and the characters one dimensional and cliched. The modern American teen attitude of Hiccup jarred me no end, especially seeing has his father was Scottish. How does that work?

    The tough blonde chick with the heart of gold (forgive me for not remembering her name, I saw it three weeks ago) is a cliche I never want to see again.

    The 3D aspect was pointless. It added nothing – nothing! – to the film, and worst of all, the dark tint of the glasses meant that for certain parts of the film I was peering into gloom trying to work out what was going on. When I took off the glasses what I saw was a revelation. The colours were crisp, clear and bright.

    It may be the best thing Dreamworks have done, but frankly, that isn’t saying a lot. I was a bit harsh saying it will go to the $5 bin in the other thread. It may be sold for as much as $10. People being excited by this shows just how lacklustre studio animated features are now.

  • Sunday

    A very good film! I was most pleased. :)

  • http://thomasblue-illustration.blogspot.com/ Mike

    I really enjoyed this movie. A stock Hero story but well told with one brave twist at the very end of the film that I really really liked. Made me laugh and cry, I was involved all through the movie. The only downside is that, strangely, the theatre was almost empty here, on opening night, on a friday. I hope this was not the case for other theatres in other places.

  • Tina

    Thank you Dreamworks. More.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I would like to add that this is the best DreamWorks movie EVER!

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    One of the best Dreamworks movies ever. The scenes where Hiccup helped and eventually tamed Toothless reminded me of the Black Stallion. Some scenes were positively breathtaking,such as the dragon attack on the Viking village at the begining,Hiccup and Astrid’s night flight on Toothless,and the climactic battle with the Godzilla-sized Boss Dragon. Hiccup was an amusing hero and Astrid (I take it she’s not in the original book) was a pretty and tough heroine/love interest. The other teenage Vikings were funny characters,especially the twins. I really also liked the relationship between Hiccup and his father,as well as the Village Blacksmith (who was hilairious). The scene where Hiccup woke up and found a part of him missing was powerful.
    In short,a great film and one moviegoers all all ages should enjoy!

  • http://underseriousdaydreaming Tony Claar

    Still haven’t seen Avatar. I’ve been too busy drawing new illustrations and making 3 new animated shorts. I did see a truly moving set of legendary cinema on TCM; all by Kurosawa. Seven Samuraii, Yojimbo, and the poetic, astonishing, passionate Rashomon. Now THOSE are great films. How To Train Your Dragon looks like real fun. I doubt that it is great cinema. It IS Dreamworks after all, creators of Shark Tale and Drek 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, ad nauseum. Just hand them your $15-$20, (you’re a die-hard American consumer like me, right?), then go see any of the Loony Tunes on DVD instead. Or Night at the Opera. Or Amarcord. Or Nights of Cabiria. Or Some Like It Hot. Or What’s New Pussycat?. Or Knife In The Water. Or Pinocchio. Or go make your own films.

  • http://animatedthoughtprocess.blogspot.com Jeremy

    I had seen part of the film while visiting Dreamworks last November and was pleasantly surprised. The early trailers didn’t do the film justice. It’s beautiful and Dreamworks best film to date. The end sequence was simply stunning. Congratulations to all who worked on this version of the film, you can be proud of your hard work!

  • http://kazrocks.blogspot.com kazzer

    I agree with Tony Claar. It was a great movie, fun and all with some GREAT character sacrifices (more than I ever thought the movie would allow) but will it go down in the annals of history as great cinema, or even world-changing animation? maybe, but I feel more likely not. It’s no Sylvain Chomet, or even Brad Bird. great fun movie though. no question about that.

  • http://www.jasoncampbell.com Jason Campbell

    Loved it, really well done. Loved the story and the characters and anytime we get treated to Craig Ferguson I’m loving it.

    The only thing my (Swedish) wife didn’t care for were the Scottish accents on her nordic ancestors but she loves Craig too so its all good.

    Heh.

  • barney_miller

    Wow Tony. Please tell what vintage wine you sipped while not watching Avatar. Were you listening to any obscure music and pondering the meaning of it all. Your life is just too interesting.

  • manwang

    Can’t wait!!

    Sad to say, but at the moment…

    Dream works, Disney doesn’t.

  • Gepinniw

    My boys, age 5 and 7, loved it. My wife and I were thoroughly entertained as well.
    The story, while not terribly original, was competently told. It would have helped if the characters had a bit more depth. It was hard to get very emotionally invested in the story.
    One thing I noticed, but which no one else here has mentioned (perhaps because it is glaringly obvious) is the character design. The influence of Uderzo is very apparent. At times, like when the characters were feasting on their juicy roast chickens (turkeys?), it was like a CGI Asterix cartoon.
    The artists in charge of the environments should be given a big pat on the back. The village, the woods, the sky scenes, the oceans were all phenomenal.
    The flying scenes were great, and the dragons were cool. Toothless was awesome in flight, and on the ground he had his moments, but at other times he was curiously flat and vacant.
    I think Dreamworks does the 3D as well as anyone, but I just can’t shake the feeling that it is a gimmick that distracts more than anything.
    It will be interesting to see how well this one does at the box office. I saw the Friday 6:30 showing and the theatre was only half full.

  • tgentry

    Definitely the best Dreamworks yet. More like this please (you know, with actual storytelling and good writing). It did drag a bit in places, but overall it was quite enjoyable, with Toothless being very charming. The only thing I didn’t like was the character design on Astrid, the girl. She looked really odd and kind of amateurish compared to the rest of the cast.

  • http://blackrevolver.com Jisuk C

    I LOVED this movie! Even better than Kung Fu Panda!

  • Sylvain

    Best Dreamworks film to date, and one of the best animated film in years, I enjoyed it a lot.

    @Tony Claar, dude you have serious psychological issues. Please tell us more about your boring elitist life !

  • daniel

    @barney_miller: haha my sentiments exactly after reading tony’s comment.

    as far as the film, nothing clever or innovative as far as the story arc, but when was the last time you saw a storyline that was actually unique?
    no, this film excels in its delivery of these familiar plots, somehow making them fresh and completely immersive.

    i think its a must-see in theaters, just so you can take full advantage of these amazing rendered flight sequences. go go go.

  • Nonimus

    It was entertaining. Not so sure about the exorbitant ticket prices, though… Sheesh.

    Also, I kept getting nauseous with the allusions to the Iron Giant. (Though who could blame the artists for being so inspired.)

    For example, when the kid is first sneaking up on the dragon, hiding behind the rock (even the string music was reminiscent here); or first bringing food for the dragon (crunchy, delicious metal); or the dragon sitting on its haunches in sympathetic mirror of the kid; “Don’t shoot, he’s just reacting defensively!”; or the dragon enveloping the kid as he falls from the sky to break his fall…

  • Rezz

    Is it just me or was the pacing really strange.

    so astrid was one moment “Arrg I’m gona get you, cuz i’m all up in the competition naah!” (2 seconds later) “everything we knew about them is wrong- I’m gona do a 180 now”

    lots of messages going on in the film vs sticking with one and keeping it powerful.

    Kung Fu panda is still the best dreamworks movie in my opinion. Its the only one that was able to tell a story in the (dreamworks required under a 100min length)

    It’s dreamworks second best film by default

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    This was a great film. There may be some spoilers in this post, but then you shouldn’t be reading this if you haven’t seen the film yet, should you? Here are some of my thoughts:

    Stereoscopy (This is the most bitched about here on the Brew, so I put it first)

    I saw it last night in Imax 3D, and they did a spectacular job of using depth as a storytelling tool. There were many parts of the film where you were pulled in or pushed back, depending upon what they wanted you to feel at that moment. Yes, 3D can be a gimmick, but that was not the case here.

    Story

    The father/son relationship was very solid. You get a great feel for the pressure the son is under, living in the shadow of his great father, and trying to live up to his family lineage. The decision to make the dragons behave like smart animals rather than talking animals was a great one (there were many spots in the film where people were remarking about how cute they behaved, reminding them of pets and such). I was also impressed with some of the bold decisions made with the characters, like the main character waking up to realize he has lost one of his legs form the knee down. Wow! What an emotional punch in the gut. Totally unexpected, but a great end for that character. There were a few of these types of moments in the film.

    Animation

    There was a lot of study done here by the modelers, TDs, and animators and it shows. Each dragon has a distinct way of moving, yet goes beyond just being an animal and gets a whole bunch of personality heaped on top. Large creatures felt REALLY large, small ones had quick, darting movements, and the flight felt real. Watching the wings move the characters’ masses around in the air was something that I’ll be frame by framing once the Blu Ray comes out.

    Environments

    The great design was not limited to the characters. The environments felt like fantastical places that one would want to visit. The ocean vistas, cloud filled skies, and rocky cliffs were all great.

    Summary

    For me, this film ranks up there, shoulder to shoulder, with “The Incredibles” and “The Iron Giant”. If you enjoy animation in any capacity, you will enjoy this film.

  • Gary Pearson

    I enjoyed the film, as did my wife and two kids who attended, 8 and 12 years old.

    I was a bit disappointed as we approached the finale, that the work done by Hiccup to gain the trust of the dragon and fly it, which was a big part of the story, was so easily done by the other kids so fast. I also thought it was unfortunate that taming and flying a dragon was a big plot point in two movies I’ve seen recently. I know it is a coincidence, but the Dreamworks guys hearts must have sank when they saw Avatar.

    As for the voices…the usual trend continues where the most American sounding voices are the heroes and accents are saved for funny characters and villains. Kind of like the real world I guess where Americans are the heroes and the rest of us are either here for laughs or need to be dealt with in some way.
    Hey America, get over yourselves!

  • http://kazrocks.blogspot.com kazzer

    So, tony, you don’t think How to Train Your Dragon is the BEST thing ever committed to film? whadda ‘elitist’! who are these people you mention? Polanski? Amm–ar–co? what? WHAT? is that word even in AMURHICAN? daniel, Sylvain, and Barney, I am on your side guys! working at Dreamworks is great! anyone who doesn’t think a film with the voice of that guy from Superbad is AWESOME is surely a latte-sipping, uppity snob who thinks he can run the country, and healthcare FOR US the people, WE the average joe’s, the ones who just wanna crack a cold, cheap beer open while watching THE BEST animated film there is on our honest, non-elitist plasma screens. Anyone who doesn’t want that is a real DISTURBED nutcase, AMIRITE?

  • Larry

    Tony Claar states in his post that he hasn’t seen the movie, yet writes one of the few negative comments. Coincidence?

    Tony, instead of bashing everyone for enjoying a movie that they saw, why don’t you judge for yourself and comment on what you thought? To ridicule people for seeing a film instead of creating their own animation is a silly, immature attitude. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Besides, I thought this comment section was reserved for people who saw the movie. So why wasn’t Tony’s post removed?

  • Brianne

    I loved it, especially the acting on Toothless. Good job guys! I’m going to see it again!

  • optimist

    SPOILER:

    There’s something that is kind of missed by most reviewers regarding Hiccup and Toothless, but that’s important to the film:

    Hiccup isn’t just trying to fly a dragon as an end in itself-or even tame one-he feels responsible for the fact that he crippled this dragon and made it a sitting duck for the Vikings to find and kill (and also less able to hunt/feed himself).
    He quickly figures out the problem(Gobber helps inadvertently during dragon training) and goes about trying to fix it so Toothless can fly free BY HIMSELF. But as it happens they need to be together for Hiccup’s fix to work. It takes both of them many tries to realize this.

    It seems some reviewers think it’s all about jumping on and flying dragons for the sheer fun of doing it, but actually that part’s the unexpected result of Hiccup just trying to make Toothless whole again-which was a particularly nice story point, I thought.

  • http://www.onanimation.com Daniel Caylor

    Wow I can’t wait to see this. What a response, and 97% on RT. I’m officially excited to see this. But I will have to wait until the crowds of annoying teenagers die down.

  • Vee

    i really loved the animation and texture details.

    The story was enjoyable, especially the relationship evolution between the kid and dragon.

    I had been waiting for this movie for a loooong time, and i must say i wasnt disappointed at all !

    actings on the dragons are superb.

    anyhow, it’s a must see !!

  • Sylvain

    kazzer, are you angry ?

    He hasn’t even seen the film, and he takes the time to write in the CB Talkback to piss on the studio, because of “Drek 11 (sic)”, all while talking about his love of Kurosawa classics, and promoting his upcoming shorts from ClaarToons… yes I think the guy has serious issues.

  • The Brewmasters

    Just a reminder, keep it respectful and don’t insult those who have expressed an opinion. Also, this thread is only for those who have seen the film. A couple comments have unfortunately slipped by from people who haven’t seen the film. We try to delete those whenever we recognize them.

  • http://discardla.blogspot.com Swinton Scott

    DId anyont else notice that today’s edition of USA Today has a small picture from How to Train YOur Dragon in the top right corner, and says it is the latest movie from Pixar?

  • http://spungella.blogspot.com Jean-Denis Haas

    I just watched it and can only agree with Floyd Bishop. I absolutely loved it! Panda was great, but this one blows it away.

    Thanks for an awesome hour and a half!

  • http://www.jeffvictor.blogspot.com JeffV

    Loved the movie, but really question why it was essential to destroy the large dragon. Wasn’t the whole message of the movie to try to find common ground with the dragons through kindness and understanding without resorting to killing? Yet at the end, Hiccup makes no effort to communicate with the great beast. Why is this one different than the others? Because it’s huge? Because it’s just naturally evil? It attacked the Vikings because they fired flaming projectiles into his home. It was just defending itself. What do you guys think? Would the ending be too boring if the great dragon was to calm down and they all shared a cup of mead or something?

  • Dan

    Thought it was just alright. They waited a beat too long getting to know Toothless, it wasn’t until over a half hour in that we got our first good gag out of him. As far as humor, about two really good laughs, but mostly Hiccup isn’t that funny. I wanted to see more of those really really evil crazy badass dragons and less of the oddly designed/big headed dragons that popped up everywhere.

    /Liked Lilo & Stitch better.

  • DanP

    My wife and I nearly walked out. I completely don’t understand the effusive praise of this film.

    The story is pure stock. “Boy, I’m just an underdeveloped misfit misunderstood by my father/community.” Thank you, Bug’s Life, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Antz, Chicken Little, and half the animated films made in the last 10 years.

    My wife turned to me with a deflated sigh 10 minutes in: “Haven’t we already seen this movie lately?”

    “Yes, dear,” was all I could say. “Often.”

    The film contains not a single original scene, and not once did it generate an audience laugh. The theater I was with was stone cold throughout as the cliches stacked on cliches played out without a single unexpected story twist, reversal, or surprising moment.

    And I can’t be the only one that’s starting to really resent this 3D gimmick. I kept peering over the glasses to see the lovely saturated colors and projector luminosity the way it was *supposed* to be, and then was disappointed every time I had to put the glasses back on to see the dimmed, low-saturation image; all so I could see it in a crappy rendition of 3D. And I was in a highend theater in a big city, (Toronto) so it’s not like I was in some small town dregs cinema.

    After the amazing Kung Fu Panda, this was such a waste. Genuinely one of Dreamwork’s weakest films.

  • Rock

    I agree Jeff that there was definitely something funky going on thematically. I would have really have liked to understand better why the Green Death was different than the others. More so than a one lined supposition from Astrid anyway.

  • Rooniman

    I can sum up the film like this:

    The dragons were cool.

    The lead character was boring as hell.

    The love interest was one big cliche with no personality.

    The supporting cast was bland.

    The gags and jokes were not the least bit funny.

    And most of all, the plot was stock.

    Actually, to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going be.
    Yes, it was kinda crappy, but it wasn’t so crappy I wanted to kill myself.

    So overall, it’s not TOO bad, but could of been better.

  • http://www.base14.com Tyler K.

    I agree with what has been said that some of the pacing seemed a little off and some character development seemed unbalanced, but at least all of the characters were generally likable, and I didn’t want to strangle any of them, which most Dreamworks films seem to make me do.

    I really, really liked the scenes just between Hiccup and Toothless, and the entire design of Toothless and the Uberdragon were brilliant. I could look at them all day. I found it odd, then, that the other dragons were designed so cartoony, like they were right out of a childrens’ book while Toothless and Uber looked like carefully-crafted fantasy creatures. I really would have liked to see all the dragons designed in realistic ways, instead of most of them serving as obvious attempts at comic relief.

  • droosan

    (S P O I L E R S)

    JeffV – I felt the same way regarding the Queen Dragon’s ultimate fate — especially since that sequence was directly preceded by Hiccup’s proclamation to Astrid that he -couldn’t- kill a dragon. Right up until that final plunge, I’d assumed his ‘plan’ was to cripple the Queen Dragon .. not to kill it.

    ———–

    And yes .. overall, HTTYD was a very ‘stock’ story. But I still managed to enjoy it.

    I -do- look forward to the Blu-ray so that I can see it without the 3-D, though (couldn’t find a 2-D presentation anywhere near me).

  • http://jgchan.blogspot.com/ Jerry Chan

    You know, I honestly didn’t have that high of expectations for this movie (the trailers for it are awful) but oh man was I blown away. Everything about this movie is superb and I love the Chris Sanders-esque Night Fury character design

    [spoilers]
    As far as the the queen dragon goes, it’s to my understanding that she(?) was a bully and a tyrant and the only thing motivating the dragons to raid the vikings, so her fate only seemed logical as she was the common enemy (although yes, it probably could have been built up a little better, like all the other dragons taking cues from Toothless and the gang to attack at once, but that might just be me talking as a Monday morning quarterback)

  • Roberto Severino

    I was pretty surprised by the quality of the film. It was really fun to watch, despite some stock elements and some weak character personalities. It’s one of the best that I’ve seen in recent years. The dragons were beautifully animated, especially with Toothless’ very appealing character design. Dreamworks certainly did a great job on the film overall, and best of all, for once, none of the lead characters were incredibly hyper or annoying as in some of the other 3-D movies that I’ve heard about from Dreamworks. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more interesting stuff from them in the future.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    It had very good moments but I think I liked KFP a little more overall and I definitely liked Lilo and Stitch better.

    I did like Hiccup, though, I thought he was pretty charismatic even though his role was kind of stereotypical. I loved his sarcastic nature.

    The other kids had interesting designs but they needed more time to shine.

    Same thing with the dragons. Tootlesh was cool, but I don’t like him as much as I loved Stitch. And the others had their moments, but I felt like I didn’t know them that much at the end.

    Really liked the 3D effect during the flying sequences. Probably better than Avatar in that respect. Interesting design of the horrid creature at the end and really brave and unexpected ending for Hiccup.

    Soundtrack was very good too.

    So, what didn’t work? Mainly, Hiccup’s father, I thought he was a really stock character devoid of real personality.

    And maybe the enviroments looked way too realistic for my tastes .

    However it is a really good movie and I would probably enjoy to see more chapters of this.

  • Lauren

    I believe the large dragon was supposed to be a tyranical character, demanding tribute of the lesser dragons at threat of death, thus perpetuating the attacks. However I agree that if this was the intention, they definatly could have explained it better. Overall I liked the film, far better than the previous Monsters. vs. Aliens.

  • Brad Constantine

    My kids, girl 6, and boy, 10, really enjoyed it, although we were all expecting more humor, especially after Kung Fu Panda. My son was interested the whole movie, and was ready to go to Mc Donalds right away to see the toys from tv. My daughter was often frightened, and spent half the movie on my lap. She enjoyed ” toothless” but was scared of the other dragons. She seemed most frightened of the vikings, and I think the 3d didn’t help in her case. I thought the story was another variation of the same “father/son approval” theme we keep getting in animated movies.(Chicken Little, Meatballs, Even Kung Fu Panda was the same in that regard.) I thought the animation was very well done. Especially the human characters. Very expressive, and maybe the best humans yet from DW. (good job, folks)…The potential for gags was everywhere, and I kept waiting for them to pop in. The whiny tone of the boy needed a bit more humor to offset an hour and a half movie. The flying scenes in 3d are worth the extra money for the glasses.

  • http://www.ryanmcculloch.com Ryan McCulloch

    Nicolas Marlet + Chris Sanders= AWESOME!

  • Sean

    one thing that is interesting is that many reviewers are using the terms “stock” and “un-original” about that characters, when they should probably, instead, go do some study of “archetypes.” Check out the good old Joseph Campbell, my friends. If you look hard enough you can boil most (if not all) characters in most (if not all) stories down to basic types. Therefore, we can come to this simple conclusion: Get Over It. It is, arguably, impossible to create 100% NEW character types and stories.
    Some of you claim you have seen this same story over and over again – well I am pretty sure I have never seen a movie about a boy viking who captures, frees, helps, and befriends an elusive type of dragon. Sure it could be SIMILAR to other story types, but it is not the exact same story.
    So get off your high horse and enjoy the amazingly beautiful movie that Dreamworks has put together. Most (though not all) of the reviewers here really seem to have enjoyed the film, so if you are one of the roughly 5+ people who actually saw the movie and did not like it, maybe you need to re-assess why you go to see movies. If it is to see brand spakin’ new, fresh out of the box, never seen before stories (including groudbreaking character types) – I will save you the trouble and tell you not to leave the house.
    Instead, you SHOULD take note of the wonderful things people have been able to do in the world of animation. I have never seen flying scenes like I saw this evening. THAT sure as heck ain’t “stock!”

    Well played Dreamworks! I truly enjoyed all of the elements of your project. Thank you.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    >>One thing that is interesting is that many reviewers are using the terms “stock” and “un-original” about that characters, when they should probably, instead, go do some study of “archetypes.” >>

    Personally I only used the word for one character I didn’t like. I don’t mind archetypes, I know the main character was an archetype, and also the other kids, but all of them had interesting personality traits.

    I just didn’t like the father. I don’t mind the “archetypical” role he is supossed to have. I realize that he had to be kind of stubborn for the story to work. But the conflict with his son didn’t ring true to me. I believed the son, I thought his dialogues and attitude reflect the nerdy type in a pretty believable way, but the father seemed like a caricature of what a people like that would be. And yep, the movie had its comic moments, but the father should be taken more seriously and I think they didn’t quite make him work. I’m quite certain that part will work better in the books, animated movies tend to be a little reiterative when it comes to this kind of father/son conflicts and dialogues.

    Not a big flaw, and I enjoyed the movie overall, but I did have bigger expectations for this one. There were certain aspects I liked MORE than I was expecting (mainly the visuals), but overall I thought it could have been a little more emotional and we could have known and felt in love with the characters a little more (the kid and the dragon were pretty well developed, and the rest were good, but I didn’t fall in love with them like I felt in love with every secondary character in Lilo and Stitch for example).

  • http://www.degrandland.com David DeGrand

    Not a bad movie, not a great movie, just kinda meh. Very derivative story but some really cool dragon designs.

  • Gepinniw

    @Sean,
    While I was one of the people who liked this film, unlike you, I am not threatened by those who disliked it. People who love movies often like to think, talk and argue about them. The great Roger Ebert certainly does this.
    There is no need to get snarky just because not everyone shares your uncritical viewpoint. If you don’t like to read divergent viewpoints, I’d suggest you stay away from internet forums!

  • Sean

    @Roberto – my argument was not directly aimed at you – mainly because you used it for one character and gave some actual argumeny for your claim. I understand and respect your updated analysis. I also agree about the lovability of the characters in Lilo and Stitch.

    @Lauren – I think you nailed the purpose of the Giant Dragon as well as the need for that beast’s demise. I do not think they ned to develop that any more – as people are able to figure that out. Plus, when you watch the fear that is acted out by the dragons (including the -up to this point – pretty badass Toothless), it makes sense that the Giant Dragon is the bad guy.

  • Rezz

    you know nothing in this movie makes sense. You have hero who spends half the movie gaining the trust of toothless- then you have the kids who did it instantly.

    but more curiously, you have them do it to the dragons that they were using as training pets. you know, punching bag type. So, all of a sudden they are like “FRIENDS!!!” but even more oddly is, they are willing to attack the huge dragon at the end…. they were totally afraid of that dragon before, so why would they attack now?

    the stakes were not there at all, they should have had the huge dragon attack the humans on their land, thus they are force to team up with dragons- vs the vikings just going to the island to fight them….which they don’t do anything at all.

    I think this could have been an awesome movie is dreamworks would get rid of that lame 90min or less film quota. It really cripples all of their films.

    I’m sure dragon crew knew about these problems (they had to!) but prob time restrain and budget got in the way…..and other things. hah

  • Rock

    @Sean

    So you’re okay with there being a randomly evil force introduced halfway through the film? I disagree completely that they didn’t need to develop this element more. They absolutely needed to. A viewer should never have to invent their own explanation for a plot point as big as this. It’s just weak story telling.

  • http://www.chogrin.com Chogrin

    One of Dreamworks’ best! The ending caught me off-guard! What a great film!

  • Alex

    Forget Dreamworks, Forget Pixar, forget Live action forget animation…
    This is a great movie.
    I heard people gasping around me, people crying… Sobbing.
    And that is everything that matters.
    What an emotional ride.
    A wonderful new classic, a touching hero ‘s journey.

    May I bring to the attention of some critics here the concept of “context” .
    You seem to criticize this movie for having an Archetypal hero’s structure. This was never meant to be a Spike Jonze’s anti-plot experimental brain twister. This is a young audience’s archetypal classic, and one of the BEST examples of it i have EVER seen.
    Just like you don’t go see a Coen brother’s movie and then Criticize the lack of Special effect spectacle, I don’t see the relevance of criticizing what you call the “predictability” of a arc-plot structured movie. Was there every any doubt that wall-e was going to get the girl at the end? was anybody surprised that Marlin does indeed find Nemo at the end?
    If anything “How to train your dragon” had Countless moments where the plot evolved and expanded taking me by surprise.
    The Idea that The viking leader realizes that only a dragon can Find the nest, so straps toothless to the head of the ship to lead them there? Wonderful!! Hiccup re building the dragon damaged tail alla “iron man” becoming a symbiotic couple who could only fly when together? Fantastic!
    This movie kept me entertained all the way through, and while yes, I knew or “predicted” where the Classic Arc-plot was going to take me (the hero wins, d’hu), I was constantly wondering How it was going to get me there. and LO

  • Charles

    Forget Dreamworks, Forget Pixar, forget Live action forget animation…
    This is a great movie.
    I heard people gasping around me, people crying… Sobbing.
    And that is everything that matters.
    What an emotional ride.
    A wonderful new classic, a touching hero ‘s journey.

    May I bring to the attention of some critics here the concept of “context” .
    You seem to criticize this movie for having an Archetypal hero’s structure. This was never meant to be a Spike Jonze’s anti-plot experimental brain twister. This is a young audience’s archetypal classic, and one of the BEST examples of it i have EVER seen.
    Just like you don’t go see a Coen brother’s movie and then Criticize the lack of Special effect spectacle, I don’t see the relevance of criticizing what you call the “predictability” of a arc-plot structured movie. Was there every any doubt that wall-e was going to get the girl at the end? was anybody surprised that Marlin does indeed find Nemo at the end?
    If anything “How to train your dragon” had Countless moments where the plot evolved and expanded taking me by surprise.
    The Idea that The viking leader realizes that only a dragon can Find the nest, so straps toothless to the head of the ship to lead them there? Wonderful!! Hiccup re building the dragon damaged tail alla “iron man” becoming a symbiotic couple who could only fly when together? Fantastic!
    This movie kept me entertained all the way through, and while yes, I knew or “predicted” where the Classic Arc-plot was going to take me (the hero wins, d’hu), I was constantly wondering How it was going to get me there. and LO

  • Charles

    VED every minute of it

  • daniel

    @charles: hahha completely agree, but you should have probably put a big SPOILER ALERT somewhere in there. cause you might just ruin the surprise for someone else :p

  • James E. Parten

    “How To Train Your Dragon” gets by on spectacle, on “eye candy”. The plot is serviceable, but it does have a “been there, done that, got the tee-shirt” quality to it. The characters could have been developed all the more, especially some of the supporting ones. (For example, a set of twins could have been developed along Weasley-ish lines, had they been given the chance.)
    Yet, there is plenty to like about this picture. Animation is quite up to standard, and some of it is spectacular. Funny lines, when they appear, are delivered okeh.
    It should be noted–at the risk of unleashing a great big SPOILER–that there is a plot hole through which one could fly the largest dragon available. These Vikings have devoted their life to an unending war against the dragons that have been decimating their village. Well, all right, then. So, howcumzit that they have in captivity various species of dragons that they use in the training of young warriors, and in rite-of-passage public dragon slaying? Since they don’t know where the main nest is, they are obviously not hatching dragon eggs–so. . .

  • Brighton Roc

    When will they write a good story? Was there any part of the story that you could not predict? Why did only the adults have accents? Why bother putting the other kids in the movie and not develop their characters at all?
    I also thought the character animation was excellent. They should tons of depth and subtle nuance. Unfortunately, because the story was so shallow, the nuances where somewhat shallow too.
    Though I must admit I enjoyed watching it. Is that the mark of a good movie? I’m not entirely sure. After all, I enjoy eating Twinkies.

  • Atts

    Most of my reactions have neen made. I almost lost my mind during the endless product pushing “trailers” before the film. I enjoyed it, and wished my 9 year old daughter was there with her Dad and Aunty, who just got out of hospital.

    DESIGN
    The Norse lanscapes, details of flames, hair and fauna and the variety of dragons and vikings were sadly undermined by the similarity of key players to others, most notably Toothless’ face seemed “separated at birth” with Stitch, the Jack Black teen, and the Gorillaz twins. Astrid was not typical doe eyed princess, she was a skinny pale viking warrior, AND their were Viking women in the long boat raids, too.

    DIRECTION
    So much fine lighting and staging which seemed original to me, but Astrid’s first flight made me want to sing a Whole New World or the love theme from Superman: The Movie.

    LEAD CHARACTER
    Hiccup was just a mope a la Mark Hammill’s Luke Skywalker. I’m no historian, elders accents seemed (are?) scottish or welsch, where Norewgian or Celtic may also have been more convincing.

    It’s a beautiful movie FOR KIDS and it has a good deal of NORSE CULTURE. Enjoy it.
    -A

  • Lauren

    @James
    The dragons used for the training were likely captured during raids on the village like the one seen near the begining of the film-possibly injured but not killed in the attack and then hauled off to the arena for the training.

    @Sean and Rock
    I don”t think the introduction of the greater dragon was a random evil, more of an explanation behind the attacks thus giving insight into previous knowledge instead of it being a deus ex machina character. While personally I did infer the dragon’s character almost immediately, I still think the one line explanation of it being like a queen bee could of been helped by just one more line spelling out that it was enslaving the lesser dragons, as with the other explanation it is possible to see the large dragon as simply the dragon’s ruler and not necessarily one hated by them.

  • http://kellytindall.blogspot.com Kelly Tindall

    There are a lot of points you can nitpick and obsess over, but the movie nails it where it really counts: it’s got a lot of heart, a clever and resourceful hero, and some really breakneck action sequences that are extremely impressive on a big old movie screen.

    I was extremely impressed with how much the film embraces the notions of tolerance, curiosity, ingenuity, innovation, and the importance of practice.

    And the dragons looked great! Not a stinker in the bunch.

  • http://www.dougvitarelli.com Doug Vitarelli

    after we saw the movie (which we all liked a lot) and i was putting my boys to bed we noticed a lot of similarities between bulbasaur and toothless.

    good stuff.

  • humming

    I’m so glad the common response is positive! This is their second best animated film to me, behind Kung Fu Panda! I can’t compare it to the book, since I never read it and know near to nothing about it, but a movie should stand alone by itself, and this one certainly does! It does have some of DreamWorks’ more infamous elements, like a stock hero story, or the teen characters being Americanized… surprisingly, I counted only 4 major celebrity voices in the cast, and none of them resembled the actors for once! But Chris Sanders’ influence is felt throughout, especially in Toothless’ design. Superb job, DreamWorks! Keep trying to make better stories, and you’ll be the best.

  • Milly

    I loved it! Okay so the story wasn’t exactly the most original, but the animating was top notch, wasn’t it? & despite it being cliche, there was heart in the story and I loved the ending scene when Hiccup walked towards the door beside Toothless. The fact that they were both handicapped with artificial aids seems to mark them as mirrors and soul mates. I thought that was a lovely end.

    Toothless was wonderful. He was cute, and despite being a dragon, he was more like a pet dog or cat. The flight scenes were gorgeous and I loved some of the cuts in there. It really made me feel like I was flying with them.

    Hiccup was the typical underdog hero protagonist, but he was likable enough, even if short of lovable. There were a couple of instances from him that I enjoyed, like the “talking fishbone” claim and the way he reacts around the blond girl. The blond girl however, was really bland. But I could overlook that seeing that there’s so much chemistry going on between Hiccup and Toothless, which is the focus of the story rather than the romance between the kids.

    & for those who are insulting the film before even watching it, I say give it a chance. It may not be the most original story out there, but it had Heart in it. Don’t slam every movie out there about love, hope and friendship. It’s nice to indulge in those once in a while and feel like a child again, flying with them in the sky.

  • John

    Hi Sean, I’m a screenwriter and am well aware of archetypes and Joseph Campell. And the story was still stock and cliched.

  • James III

    I liked it, but found it just a bit short on a few points.
    The character of Hiccup is great, and I enjoyed him thoroughly. I like that underdog like hero. He’s somewhat similar to the star of Scrubs and Tak in Tak and the Power of Juju. But I enjoy that.

    I did think the movie was about twenty minutes too long, and a few scenes needed to be cut. But I’m not sure where, I did enjoy a great many of the characters though.

    Thought the ending with Hiccup’s foot was a great counterbalance to an overly too happy ending. But my biggest problem were the final scenes where everyone’s adopting a dragon. I thought it might be best if the dragons left to go somewhere else, and learning that while they may not be enemies and everyone mis-understood each other, that sometimes you have to be true to your nature. I have a hard time believing everyone will get along swimmingly at the end. I’m not sure if its best for the dragons to be domesticated.

    That’s just my opinion.

    James

  • http://www.jeva.hu jeva

    it’s an amazing movie and probably the best dw feature to date! what I liked the most was the facial animation, specially the eyes of the characters. I have to see it at least one more time to understand why it is working so well, ’cause it’s something I have not seen in a cg movie before. plain magic …

  • manny

    oh this one is going to be a classic for sure! what brilliant film making… dear old john lessy must be banging his head right now!

  • http://tresswygert.blogspot.com Tres Swygert

    This was the best DreamWorks movie I have ever seen! For once, they actually worked on the storyline, and didn’t rely on star status alone to bring in the crowds. Or pop culture jokes throughout the entire film. Though I kept noticing how Toothless spread his wings like he was Batman the entire time. And the scene where the big dragon comes out….Phenomenal! Simply phenomenal!

    I thought this movie was way better than Kung Fu Panda, seeing Kung Fu Panda had a disappointing ending and undeveloped characters. It almost felt like it was another version of Kung Fu Panda, but with different characters and scenarios….let alone that the animation was taken to another place that we have not seen from DreamWorks. My only hope is that they don’t make a sequel of this movie. DreamWorks always look for the opportunity to turn something into a franchise, if it does well at the box office.

    Anyways, I can truly say this will be the first DreamWorks movie I’ll get on DVD…because they earned my respect with this project. Hopefully they can continue that with their next movies. Hopefully.

  • Bill Turner

    Rooniman, I love the line “Yes, it was kinda crappy, but it wasn’t so crappy I wanted to kill myself.”

    I liked the movie but are one of those who don’t like 3-D. After seeing this and Avatar in 3-D, I will seek out 2-D showings of future movies from now on.

  • Deed

    Amazing, one of the best animated films ever, period. The “story was stock” comments posted are absolutely ridiculously ignorant. Anyone with an understanding of storytelling can see this is a masterpiece.

    you are pretty much saying “I don’t like stories with like hero’s that like you know battle against stuff, it seems too familiar”

    Redundant criticism much? The movie rocked, the reviews are in, take a big whiff.

  • Trog

    John:

    What screenplays did you write?

  • Rezz

    Well i saw the movie a second time – and I think its a B or B-

    are we sure we don’t have any agents from dreamworks posting on this board :)

    “I heard people gasping around me, people crying… Sobbing.”

    sobbing……really?

  • Gepinniw

    @ Deed
    People who disagree with you are “ignorant,” eh?
    How about we refrain from name calling? I mean, what is this, third grade? Speaking of third grade, it’s “heroes” not “hero’s.” ;o)

  • The Brewmasters

    A reminder again that these comments are a place to express your opinion about the film and/or to have a healthy debate. It is not a place to insult the opinion of others. Be respectful to our community.

  • http://omnom.diary.ru/ E_a_s_y

    After viewing this piece I was ready to return and watch it again…and again…ang again *–* awesome one

  • http://www.husbandlaw.com Paul Husband

    I thought it was BRILLIANT! The animation was stellar, particularly on HICCUP. HICCUP had tremendous facial expression and body language. An outstanding film that was well acted and told in animation. Bravo! So enjoyable, I am going to see it again.

  • Mike Fontanelli

    Agreed, the best from Dreamworks by far. It’s true that it’s way too influenced by live-action, as are all their animated features to date. It also has NO laughs, stock character relationship “arcs”, pedestrian acting and a trite message. BUT – none of that really matters this time, because the dragon sequences make up for all of it. If I were an 8 year-old, I’d be going ape. As an adult, I was still entertained the whole time – even if the dialogue was a bit draggy and conventional. It was an ideal concept for an animated film, and they didn’t drop the ball; its good points far outweigh the bad. Stayed thru the closing credits, which were illustrated with cartoony dragon model designs, and realized that one of the influences was Ronald Searle, (an excellent choice, imho). Next time, maybe we could use a little less Feminist and “New Age Dad” sermonizing and a little more humor? Just a suggestion. Kudos to the animation and design teams, however.

  • Raf

    I think Dreamworks really took it to the next level. This stands its ground against any Pixar film. Great heart, great story, great characters. I’m not surprised its at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

    Home run!

  • http://zdspark.com Victoria Cook

    THIS MOVIE ROCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I just got the soundtrack and am seeing it again tomorrow!!!!

  • http://tillmyhands.blogspot.com Anoniguy

    Dreamworks has a problem with making bad movies. The trailer for the new Shrek and Megamind shows that in all likelihood they still suffer from it. But this film, following in the footsteps of KFP, shows that when they try, they can make /damn good animated films/.

    It was beautiful and enjoyable from start to finish, and managed to surprise me several times – the trailers didn’t spoil the main monster, the creatures’ defeat is set up in a believable fashion, and the development of the hero and his symbiont/companion into friends and partners in flight was wonderfully done. It was nothing like what I expected, and not nearly so jokey and slapstick and idiotic as the ads led one to believe. Also, one thing I appreciated was the fact that noone in the film made the -slightest- fuss over the girls, aside from trying to impress them. The girls were just as tough and crude as the boys, while still being females, not XX chromosome males.

    The biggest surprise for me was right at the end.
    “You brought back my son.”
    “Well, most of him!”
    And… they weren’t kidding! I couldn’t believe a film with happy meal toys would be ballsy enough to actually allow a main character to lose a limb.

    If I had a single beef with the picture, it would be that Toothless didn’t jive with the designs of the other dragons at all. But He was cute, in that expected Chris Sanders way, and not SO different that I couldn’t like him anyway. So… yeah!

    Wonderful film.

    Oh, and I saw it in 2d, headache/nausea free, for eight bucks, and that wasn’t matinee pricing. At least one theater hasn’t ratcheted up prices yet!

  • Ethan

    I saw it again this weekend, it really grew on me.

    *** Spoilers ***

    I am still amazed they had the guts to have all those lost limbs and prostetics, it’s present the whole time, and I felt it was central to the film. The kids talk about it as a proud battle scar, Gobber explains with a playful and proud tone how he lost his arm and leg, Snotlout says he’s going to cut off every single dragon foot to avenge Gobber. There are many scenes showing how gobber uses his arm with tools, weapons and beer mugs, there’s also his lost tooth with a rock in it’s place. The BASIS of Hiccup and Toothless relationship is the loss of his left tail wing, and of course the ending wraps everything up where toothless helps him walk, like hiccup helped him fly, and the foot fits mechanically in the equivalent rig on toothless. It was interesting that it’s Gobber who made the leg (my mind linked that to the fact that Gobber was a father figure while Hiccup had family problems). He made it technologically fancy, like Hiccup would want it, not a simple peg like he has. Contrast with the beginning when Gobber told Hiccup he can’t fight because he can’t lift an axe or a hammer, while hiccup wanted to use a more advanced technological contraption instead.

    I disagree it’s yet another boy-and-his-dog film. I also do not think that the lost foot in the end only serves to add bittersweetness. I though it was necessary and important in the story.

    By the way, I heard some people exiting the theater who didn’t understand how Hiccup lost the foot. Hmmmm… He fell into a big sea of burning fuel. Toothless protected him with his fireproof wings, mostly, but the foot burned. I mean, it’s logical, is there any other explanations ? The foot burned ?

    I’m reading the comments here, and this film is very polarizing isn’t it ?

    If this has something to do with a certain radioactive cat with an eye patch…. I’ll take side with the cat ;-)

  • Don Verden

    Kazzer: Dragon’s is “no Sylvain Chomet”. Are you seriously wanting to compare this to say Triplets of Bellville? Yes I’m a fan too, but I think Dreamworks are trying to make a film that people are going see..

    the desperate trolling against DW is getting old buddy.

  • http://thisisonlya.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I quite liked it. It doesn’t speak to a fundamental issue of human existence like the better Pixar films do, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

    Most of the banter worked well, but a bit too talky overall. I don’t like it when characters think out loud, talking only to themselves.

    I liked the design of Toothless but some of the supporting dragons seemed to be from a different movie.

    Some of the plot points seemed implausible, even in the universe of the film. Would a dragon who can normally fly to 20,000 (?) really be grounded by the loss of half of a tail fin?

    And the whole business with mega-dragon at the end seemed not well motivated by the first half of the movie.

    I liked the flying sequences with Hiccup on the back of Toothless, but I liked them when I saw them in “Rescuers Down Under” too.

    Making the red-haired kid the village misfit is a tired Hollywood cliche.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    Mike Fontanelli’s opinion is pretty close to mine. I didn’t mind the “Feminist” angle that much but “New Age Dad” pretty much sums up my problems with the dad character and the conflict with his son.

    I’ll add daddy was kinda skizophrenic too , they should have either made him more strict or more reasonable. I thought his attitude was pretty incomprehensible when he saw Toothless saving his son from the other dragon. All of the sudden he’s not the stubborn but somewhat caring father, he just doesn’t recognize Hiccup as his son becuase he’s “on the dragon’s side”. What? Yeah, I know there’s a war between vikings and dragons, but the dragons are just creatures, so how are you going to be on the animals’ “side”? Animals doesn’t have or express opinions to begin with.

    So isn’t it evident that Hiccup has just domesticated one of them? Have they presented the father as a much more unreasonable and coleric man I would have probably bougth that reaction a little more, but the movie only show us that he fights with the dragons and he is not proud of his son. But he he tries to act “cool” and “be friends with him”, so this reaction seemed a litte too much. Maybe he could say “You’re crazy, this creatures are dangerous!” but not recognizing Hiccup as his son anymore? That’s overreacting.

    I would also like to see more humor if there’s another chapter. The other kids and the dragons could be used to include more comedy.

    Just out of curiosity, if you read this, Mike, what’s your opinion about Kung Fu Panda?

  • Sylvain

    Roberto,
    It seems you have a few questions, I’ll try to answer some of them.

    “”I know there’s a war between vikings and dragons, but the dragons are just creatures, so how are you going to be on the animals’ “side”? Animals doesn’t have or express opinions to begin with.”"

    I don’t understand what you mean by “just creatures”, we are just creatures too. The film expressed that the dragons are intelligent. They created games drawing lines in the sand (researchers in that field will tell you that it’s a good indicator of intelligence, games are for experimenting and learning). They also understand their own situations. You can’t generalize as absolute what “animals” do and don’t. We are still learning about them in our world, let alone an imaginary dragon creature in a film, with clearly demonstrated intelligence.

    “”So isn’t it evident that Hiccup has just domesticated one of them? “”

    No it’s not. They became friends, and helped each other.

  • http://tangrala.blogspot.com/ Katy

    How to Train Your Dragon was really good.

    I’ve got a few issues with it though, a couple are real and the rest are more just me.

    My main beef is that I felt like the relationships between the characters never quite peaked because they rushed along from one to the next so quickly. Particularly I would have enjoyed more time spent on Hiccup and Toothless’s relationship.

    Part of picking out that specific relationship is just me though. In the first part of the film Toothless seems very human(drawing and smiling and looking for hidden weapons), but later he is more like a friendly pet. His humanity disappears. What I really wish for in a buddy movie with pets is that the pets are more like my best human friend, because real animals just can’t do that. When that element went out of the film it became more of an action movie and I was kind of detached from the characters. (Yet still loving all the action!) I was a bit let down by this, but it is because that is what I was looking for out of it. I thought maybe someone had finally done it, but not quite yet.

    Also, how do you not blow up the volcano at the end by smashing the giant crazy dragon into it?!!!!! That would have been rad!

  • OtherDan

    Nothing negative to say-it was all good. And, just as I imagined my 4yr. old daughter’s expressions throughout the movie were my highlight…she really loved the “Black Fury”. And, thanks to Walmart we went and got her her very own. I just hope she doesn’t run and fall on the damn thing.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    @Sylvain: Ok, that’s fair and all. But I still don’t buy the father reaction, which is the part that didn’t work for me.

    I know we are just creatures as well and that animals can be intelligent, but it’s not like Hiccup could talk to the dragons and say “Hey, I want to join to your side” or that he has attacked the village with Toothless’ help. When Hiccup’s father sees that Toothless saves his son from another dragon a more normal reaction would have been something like “They are dangerous, you can’t be his friend. You’re too young to understand it so stay here while I go to the cave to fight with them”, but not “You are on their side now, you are not my son anymore”. I think that attitude is more aggressive than the one we have seen before from him.

    If the father was really that strict then he should have been portrayed as a more serious and coleric figure. But he was constantly changing from his “new age” attitude to his “stubborn conservative” attitude. I don’t know, his reactions didn’t feel real to me and it seemed that he was just a tool to introduce conflicts and plot points.

  • peter

    last year i was really disappointed by Disney’s princess and the frog!
    and i was a little skeptical to put my money and watch another animated movie in theater! but i have to say How to train your dragon is Very Entertaining movie, i thoroughly enjoyed it! i will recommend it t every animation fan and critiques!!

  • eet eed

    no reviews of the film by the brewmasters?

    and no mention that it was #1 at the box office over the weekend?

  • Ethan

    *** spoilers ***
    @Roberto. You think Stoik overreacted ? Hiccup went in front of the village at the center of their most cherished ritual : killing dragons that attack their village and killed hundreds of them. He throws the helmet his father gave him and say “I’m not one of them” in front of the whole village! He spit on their values, their traditions, and their ways, and he humiliates his father. Then, when toothless attacked them, he shouts them to stop hurting the dragon, and he did took the side of a dragon in that fight, he was about to intervene until Astrid stopped him. How worse can it be for Stoik ?

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    I’m just glad after the Lasseter/Disney shenanigans Sanders and DeBloise get some success and hopefully more opportunities to direct animation – they’re among the best in the Hollywood industry, maybe the best outside Pixar. With a little nurturing and some risk taking by DW I think they can give Pixar a run for its money. This doesn’t, however, make me enthusiastic for any DW animated features outside CROOD AWAKENING, or whatever its called. MASTERMIND lost my interest the moment Robert Downey Jr wasn’t involved.

  • Jennifer

    my FAVORITE animated movie.
    Along with Spirited away, Totoro and Pinocchio.

  • Dan

    A masterpiece!
    what an amazing emotional ride.
    I want to spend more time with the characters!

  • M

    @eet eed, are we really that surprised here anymore?

    Overwhelmingly positive response from the public on this film, loved by critics (97% on rottentomatoes.com), #1 at the box office, and not even 3 days later this post is already buried.

    I almost assumed there was NO mention of this movie here at all. And THIS is pathetic.

    No interviews with the geniuses and talents behind this film? No mention on the incredible character designs, the art direction, some of the best, if not THE best animation done in recent years, no… nothing?

    I used to read this blog everyday because I believed the brewmasters championed and supported animation, and it was what I felt a great resource/hub to be exposed to animation-related news/artists/events within the industry, but frankly that’s dwindled. The majority of what I find here anymore are gripes and complaints, bashing and insulting, and close to pure negativity, instead of “leading the animation conversation.”

    Sadly, you are losing readers and fans because of this, cartoonbrew. That’s a fact, because I was one of them.

    I hope you really consider being friendly to the industry you claim to be a part of.

    PS: I second Charles comment… and the hundred or so others here who LOVED ‘Dragons.’

  • Bill

    Haha here here “M”!
    But what do you expect? On DRAGON’S OPENING DAY Amid was way too busy to notice anything by dreamworks…. he was publishing posts about some image of live action rendering of Sponge Bob square pants…
    http://www.cartoonbrew.com/bad-ideas/spongebob-untooned.html

    Leading the Animation conversation indeed!

  • Ian

    So many people are saying thing along the lines of “One of the best Dreamworks has produced”. That’s not really saying anything, is it? I think it’s fair to compare this film with the best animated films ANYONE has made.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I went and saw it again tonight. Was my 6th viewing:} I LOVE this movie. LOVE Toothless. Hell, I WANT a toothless. I want my own dragon. Loved the Vikings too. I wanna be a Viking. A Viking with a dragon.

    Life is unfair * pout*

  • Gepinniw

    @M
    Okay then. Buh-bye. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • Peter F

    Touches of brilliance that got sort of undercut, once the movie descended into a whirling chaos of nonsense, at about the point that the giant evil volcano boss dragon thing was introduced.

    I didn’t buy the hero’s horrible jerk of a father suddenly declaring that he was proud to call the boy hero his son, after all the awful, emasculating stuff he’d heaped on the kid, presumably for most of the boy’s life. I also didn’t buy the instant trust and symbiosis between dragons and Vikings after the climactic battle. The movie that began so interestingly didn’t deserve such a crappy, overly neat ending.

    The character designs were a lot of fun, the craggy island world was winning and the voice acting was mostly very good, outside of the horrible choice of Gerard Butler, playing the father/king Viking in an incongruous Scottish accent. I doubt I could ever sit through it again, though.

  • Erin

    My husband, sister & I saw this film last night & all enjoyed ourselves very much. The only criticism we could come up with was the choice of vocal talent for Hiccup. Have never seen one of his movies before, I was unfamiliar with the actor. However, his vocal inflections, constant deadpan and (what felt like) forced sarcasm just wore on us after a while (worst line: “Thank you for nothing, you useless reptile”). :} A plot issue I had with the film was something that I have a problem with in any other film of a similar nature: the father, who is nothing like his son, expresses nothing but disappointment/regret over the child’s existence or lack of abilities, and refuses to even listen to his son when there is something important to be said, yet miraculously is full of love and acceptance when the kid manages to pull of a beyond-impossible feat of greatness. Saying “I’m so proud of you” after several disparaging remarks just doesn’t ring true. Why not praise the child all along, so that the expression of love at the end is merely a reinforcement and not a shocking revelation of pride for the child??! (Just my two cents – as I said, HUGE issue with this in any similar film).
    ——
    Now onto the praise part – I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I actually teared up a few times, and towards the end some of them even spilled over. The storyline between the boy & the dragon was very sweet, very tender – I was very emotionally involved in any of the scenes regarding Hiccup & Toothless. Toothless reminds my husband & I of one of our cats (Luna, who is also all black & very playful/precocious), which may have contributed to some of the shed tears :). Even so, I so appreciated the exploration of the child/pet relationship. I enjoyed that the hero achieved greatness not through violence or over-the-top deeds, but through love, gentleness, and humility in recognizing the strengths of his foes.

  • http://www.srulibroocker.com Sruli Broocker

    Loved it. “How to Train Your Dragon” raised the bar for Dreamworks – with “Over the Hedge,” and “Kung Fu Panda,” I saw they could make good animated films. With “How to Train Your Dragon,” I saw they could make a classic. “Megamind” and “Shrek” have me concerned, though.

  • http://www.chrisniosi.com Chris “Kirbopher” Niosi

    Only things I can mention that haven’t already been said:

    -I agree with Erin’s comment about Hiccup’s actor up to a point, though I ended up forgetting about how annoying his voice was after a while due to being too wrapped up in the movie to care. The only things that reminded me was, as Erin also mentioned, the occasional annoying lines, most of which are in the trailers. Speaking of, I’m glad “You are SO busted” was removed…I wish “DA-DA-DAAA, WE’RE DEAD.” was too.

    -This is one of the only things I’ve ever seen/read/played/enjoyed that left me wanting subsequent releases. The prospect of ASKING for sequels probably sounds asinine to most filmmakers, but I say this because of the material from the following books this film was based on what could potentially make movies just as good as, if not even better, than this. Dare I say, let this be the next “Shrek” series if this means more movies, I’ll go see ‘em.

    -Also the score is brilliant and everyone should get it. John Powell knows how to make ear-worms in his tunes.

  • http://selcouthblog.blogspot.com Mesterius

    A little late in watching it, but I just did and I have to say…

    Wow, this is good!

    I agree with what’s been said about some supporting characters being undeveloped, and the kill-the-evil-dragon ending somewhat questionable… but when watching the movie, even being aware of this didn’t ruin anything for me. I loved everything that was there. I loved the characters we really got to know; I loved the relationships between Astrid and Hiccup, and between Hiccup and Toothless. Both of these relationships are developed in a pretty plain and straightforward manner (Astrid pretty much turned around towards Hiccup during their wild and beautiful ride on Toothless’ back); and yet the characters’ care for one another feels completely believable. The scene where Hiccup and Astrid stand alone on a cliff – watching the Viking ships going out on their ill-doomed journey to face the giant dragon – might be the movie’s high point for me. At this point, eveything seems hopeless to Hiccup… but Astrid starts analyzing him and mentions Hiccup’s own incredible achievements earlier in the movie to make him realize he can save the day. As Hiccup runs off to do this, with Astrid watching him, we understand that Hiccup’s unique ways of achieving a goal is part of why Astrid admires him and cares about him. This is a short and simple scene, yet so beautifully realized.

    Maybe some details could have been solved even better, but this is wonderfully done movie. Even the 3D felt right. Chris Sanders and Dean Deblois are no longer only the directors of my favorite Disney animated movie during the previous decade… they’re also the directors of (possibly) my favourite Dreamworks movie. Go Chris and Dean!

  • http://www.lyris-lite.net David Mackenzie

    I saw it tonight, and have to say I found it overrated – good, but overrated.

    My biggest gripes with it were all the usual animated movie cliches – puny boy wants to please his father, the female love interest who’s a bit of a bitch but ultimately comes around after puny boy proves his bravado, the foreshadowing, etc.

    The most likeable attributes were essentially re-hashing the character of Stitch from Sanders and Deblois’ much more likeable 2002 movie. Don’t get me wrong, I liked “Dragon”, but I don’t quite understand all the hype. It reminded me throughout how much more fulfiled I was left by Lilo & Stitch, due to the character similarities.

    In any case, Dreamworks have improved a hell of a lot since “Antz”.

  • Leirin

    What a brilliant movie. My eyes were wet towards the end, and once the credits started, my sister faced me and exclaimed “I’ve got a new favorite Dreamworks movie.” “Same here.” Aside from maybe two small gags made in the film, it hardly felt like DW animation. You felt a personal connection with the characters and their world… it was transportive. I commend them on this effort.

  • http://dojovillage.com Mr. Miagi’s Keeper

    Your by no means to old to begin your Martial Arts Training, having said that you do need to bear in mind at our age our body takes longer to recoup.