How to Train Your Dragon 3D Review

Posted: May 28, 2010 in Review
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How to Train Your Dragon 3D Review

Dragons and films don’t tend to go together very well. Just look at the evidence – Dragonheart, Reign of Fire, Dungeons and Dragons and Eragon – all rubbish and mostly featuring Jeremy Irons. It seems that up until now, cinema and dragon-based adventures are incompatible. Luckily, How to Train Your Dragon is here to make a case for the defence.

Hiccup is a young, accident-prone Viking, living among his people on a remote island that suffers from a dragon problem. In order to prove himself a man, Hiccup must slay a dragon, but he doesn’t want just any old beast, he wants to bring down the Night Fury, the most legendary lizard of them all.

However, in his attempts to capture the Night Fury, Hiccup accidentally wounds it, leading to an unlikely friendship and a shocking discovery – that the entire Viking way of life is totally wrong.

What starts out as an affable kids’ film about a buffoon and his loveable dragon companion, there’s a hell of a lot to like here. For one, the animation is superb throughout. How to Train You Dragon might not be the most visually stunning animated film ever, but what’s on offer is great – visual expressions, dragon design, the Viking’s fur coats – all topped off with some of the best animated action in any movie.

The film’s real strength is that the characters within it are really good, with just enough depth in them to get by. Hiccup’s journey is totally believable and the way his changing attitude towards dragons alters the minds of those around him is also convincing. There’s just enough time between big aerial flight scenes and friendship montages to squeeze all this in, creating a film that can sometimes feel too crowded and ambitious for what it’s trying to do.

While most of the characters are pretty good and the visual look of each dragon is staggeringly varied, the dialogue can be horrendously clunky. There’s too much of a tendency for characters to say what they’re feeling, which leaves the rest of the story disappointingly predictable.

While it’s not as funny as it could be, there are a few laughs here and there to be had, but most of the time you’ll be busy marvelling at the excellent action scenes, an effect that is magnified with the use of 3D technology. It creates a great illusion of being close to the combat – quite an achievement for a kids’ film about a buffoon and his dragon.

Kids will love the fantasy, adults will like the animation. If the characters were slightly deeper and the laughs were more frequent, this would be one for everyone. As it is, it’s just going to have to settle for being a crowd-pleaser.

3 stars

  1. Alex says:

    I liked DragonHeart. I was a kid when I saw that. And liked it. Sean makes a very good Dragon.

    Though I will say that I like to imagine Sean’s character from the Rock’s dialogue coming out of the Dragon.

    “Losers always whine about their best winners go home and fuck the prom queen!”

    “Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious”


    Yes I have gone a bit loopy.

  2. CMrok93 says:

    The tone moves smoothly from cartoony humor to exciting action, and the visuals – including some soaring flight sequences, augmented with subtle 3-D – are wondrous.

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