Monday Movie: How To Train Your Dragon by @destroytheearth

Kids' films really are where it's at, aren't they? Hollywood has failed to come up with much for adults lately, raiding panel to panel from comics for inspiration. Meanwhile, kids' films are going from strength to strength: G-Force taught Jerry Bruckheimer how to make good action films again; Harry Potter continues to make more money than all the other franchises combined; and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs was a revelation. Next up, How To Train Your Dragon shows Clash Of The Titans how it's done.

Dreamworks' latest is based on an award-winning series of children's books about a Viking dragon-rider, but casts out everything from the books with the exception of the previous, one-line synopsis and the unusually-Scottish flavour of Viking. Instead, we have some standard fair about learning to be yourself and earning your place in the world. It comes across like Eragon, only without the flagrant plagiarism and possessing a sense of fun.

The key is in the presentation. The film is beautiful; using simple spectacle to awe, rather than trying to advance the boundaries of animation and making us all rather nauseous in the process. Watching the titular dragons spiralling through clouds and diving under over-hanging cliffs reminds you of nothing short of Avatar in terms of presentation.

The standard plot is further enhanced by some fantastic vocal performances from Gerard Butler, who is quickly becoming an institution,and Ugly Betty's America Ferrera; not to mention some rather off-colour humour. A gag about breast-plates will have you choking on your popcorn.

This, however, serves to be a problem: this is meant to be a kid's film. Parents may find the humour goes a bit too far, not to mention some of the finer plot points. Hiccup the Viking's final sacrifice is a bit much to deal with, given the film's light tone. Also, the less-cute of the dragons had one child in the showing I saw crying and clutching her mother.

Yet again, this is a kid's film with plenty for adults to enjoy, but not really something you'd take your kids to.

1 comment:

  1. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. It washed the bad taste of Clash out of my mouth.

    But, yes, also saw it in a cinema packed with little kids, and they had a much rougher time of it...