How to Train Your Dragon

In this film publicity image released by Paramount Pictures, Astrid, voiced by America Ferrera, center, is shown in a scene from “How to Train Your Dragon.”


I was skeptical of 3-D, at first.  If there’s one thing directors don’t need, after all, it’s more gimmicks.  I was wrong.  If you haven’t had a chance to see the new 3-D technology on the big screen, go check out “How to Train Your Dragon” — the movie that made me forgive Gerard Butler for “Law Abiding Citizen.”

Sure, it’s trendy.  Sure, it’s complicated.  Sure, in the hands of the wrong director it could be used to distract audiences by hiding the increasingly-horrible screen plays that Hollywood cranks out.

But does it add something visually?  Absolutely.  This is evidenced in “How to Train Your Dragon,” and I’m not at all disappointed about having to pay extra for the technology.

The visuals in the movie are fantastic.  It also showcases characters with personality, natural dialogue, a solid story and even a tidy moral to said story (for whoever needs that drivel).  

Jay Baruchel delivers some wonderful voice acting in the lead role as Hiccup, an out-of-place thinking-man in a Dragon-slaughtering Viking village.  

Only ever wanting to fit in, the small Hiccup almost gets his chance to prove his worth by killing an enigmatic species of dragon known as a Night Fury but quickly discovers he doesn’t have the thirst for blood so readily displayed by his fellow Vikings.  

Instead, he sets out to make allies of perceived enemies.

His Viking village embraces the idea whole-heartedly ... just kidding.  

A central conflict of the story revolves around the boy’s struggle to convince his heroically gigantic father — who happens to be the village chief — that a Viking with friends is stronger than a Viking with enemies.  

The movie also opts out of hitting the viewer in the face with the potentially overdramatized past of Hiccup’s absent mother.  

Speaking of this melodramatic trend, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why every single animated movie has to be so sad.  Sadness is not the only emotion available.

Sorry.  I’ll get back on track.

Meanwhile, Hiccup learns the mischievous and cat-like dragons have their own problem within the colony’s monarchy.

It’s funny, entertaining and intelligent.  “How to Train Your Dragon” proves new ideas can work together with good ideas, brains can overcome brawn, adventure doesn’t equate to war and Vikings constructed fantastic iron-age prosthetics.

Watch it.

“How to Train Your Dragon” is rated PG.

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