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*** Official HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON Review Thread


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#1 of 8 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted March 26 2010 - 05:59 PM

I found "HTTYD" to take a little while to find its footing in the first act, plus, Jay Baruchel's voice sometimes comes across sounding like Christian Slater in spots, plus the heaping of pathetic-ness from the voice acting is a little much for the lead character of Hiccup, the frail son of Stoick, the leader of the Vikings.  That being said, the film does get better as it goes along, and its humor is derived from the time period that it takes place in, so you won't find it dated with pop cultural references upon a later viewing, and some of the bits of humor just come out of nowhere and really zing the funny bone. 

The design for the various dragons range from traditional to kind of weird and bloaty-looking.  I wasn't quite wowed by the set pieces or the look of the locales where film takes place.  The aerial sequences are quite fun to watch (I saw it in RealD 3D), and will entertain kids and adults alike.  I'm not sure I liked it better than Kung-Fu Panda, but it was still an entertaining film.

I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.


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#2 of 8 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 27 2010 - 07:30 AM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "How to Train Your Dragon". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an
Official Discussion Thread.




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#3 of 8 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 27 2010 - 07:44 AM

I liked this film a lot and felt it was one of the best 3D films I've viewed in the last three years or so.  I'll give the film a solid B+ as I did enjoy it more than Kung Fu Panda.  I had no problem with the voice acting by Jay, America and the rest of the cast.





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#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 28 2010 - 02:46 PM

Payton and I ate lunch at the mall and on the way out I pointed out the movie theater.  He decided he wanted to see a movie!  So in we went.  This was my first movie since the 2004 LA HTF meet, and his first movie ever!  We really liked it (although IMO the target audience is more like age 10 and he's only 4).  The 3D was only a little distracting to me -- but my eyes are ever-so-slightly off from each other, so 3D in general doesn't work so great for me.  It was an all-around great time, except for the popcorn cravings -- the smell, the crunching all around us -- as soon as the previews started, Payton started in with "I'm hungry!"  Fortunately that died down once the movie itself began.  We popped a bag in the microwave as soon as we got home.  :)  But first we stopped at Toys R Us, which was having buy-1-get-1-free on all books, and picked up a couple of HtTYD tie-in books.

I'd give this a 3.5 or 4 on my 5-star scale.  Tough to say -- the story's themes were nothing new, but it worked for what it was and the action was great.  Definitely a 4-star flick for kids.

The one negative didn't happen until this evening, when I read Ebert's review.  He was my go-to guy growing up, but he's really got some issues these days.  The review spoiled most of the plot, as is pretty common for him to do these days, but the number of simple factual errors in the review was just shocking.  I have to wonder whether he was paying much attention when he watched the film.  It was like he wanted to make some sort of Big Statement about some preconceived notion of the movie, as opposed to actually discussing it.  Lazy, sloppy garbage. :(


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#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted April 01 2010 - 02:12 AM

Dreamworks best effort to date.  I recall being very impressed with Kung Fu Panda.  Not only was the animation more, well, animated, the story was more balanced and nuanced than their usual fare.  Typically they have pop culture jokes for the teens and grown-ups, and pratfalls for the kids, with no area in-between or managing to encompass both.  KFP managed to be a family film (as opposed to a film partly for kids and partly for grown-ups), integrated across audiences and beautiful to look at.  Not quite Pixar level, but at least respectable competition that brought something to the table.

So I had high hopes for Monsters & Aliens; it was pretty disappointing, as it went right back to formula (sadly, the same looks true of MegaMind, the Fall 2010 Dreamworks animated film).

I loved How To Train Your Dragon.  My family was gouged $49.50 for two adult tickets and one child ticket to see it in 3D IMAX (at an AMC, so not a full IMAX), and I don't regret the purchase at all.  My son loved it, my wife loved it, and I loved it.

The highlights:

Jay Baruchel absolutely nails the narrative and his dialogue
The flying sequences are spectacular
The relationships are warm and honest
The themes are noble and kind

That's it.  Were I more keenly directing my critical faculties, I could point out that plenty of the film (though not all) is telegraphed, that it sprints through some sections it should take more time with, and that some of the dialogue is clunky.  But I'm not going to.  The fgilm emotionally hooked me, and paid that off with great scenes again and again.

I wasn't surprised that Sanders and DeBlois made this film.  Lilo & Stitch is a gem in Disney's crown, something unique and warm and special.  This film is as well.  My only regret is that the experience won't be the same again, thanks to Imax Lite and the 3D element.

What I am most happy about is that Dreamworks clued in to what Pixar has lived for most of the previous decade - CG animation is merely a medium, and all of the principles of quality animation remain.  HtTYD looks great, and is a pleasure to watch.

Highly recommended, even for those without kids.


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#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted April 03 2010 - 08:14 PM

Overall, I thought this flick was pretty good. I actually liked this film a lot better than "Avatar". I just felt more invested in the characters.....especially toothless the dragon. The character has no dialogue but they succeed in making you feel a lot of sympathy for him, even though he is essentially a killing machine. I found the 3D in this film quite a bit more immersive to me than "Avatar", but it still suffers from a couple of problems: one being the amount of light reduction. The really major one is how many times the picture just looked blurry to me and at other times it felt like I was on the verge of double vision. I think I'm going to be quite comfortable holding off on buying into any 3D television technology. The tech does add a lot, but it also takes a lot away. What it takes away, colour depth and clarity, just isn't made up for by the addition of the "3rd dimension". I'll be quite happy to pick this up in 2D on blu-ray.

After watching the flick, I couldn't help but think that Lassetter made a big mistake when he got rid of this fellow. I really would have like to have seen what he would have done with "Bolt (American Dog)" if Lasseter hadn't stuck his gob into the proceedings. I don't think Sanders and Dublois are quite to Brad Bird's level, but they come a pretty close second.

To me, It's a toss up whether "Kung Fu Panda" or "HttYD" is Dreamworks best effort to date. Both of the films have a lot going for them. In terms of appealing characters KFP would be the winner, but I think the story in "HttYD" is a bit deeper if you look beyond the action.

If I was going to pick one thing that made it worth the the 13 bucks I paid, I would have to say that the climax of this film was something to see. It really was an amazing piece of animation. The other thing that was quite impressive was the soundscape for the film. This thing really gave the surround channels a workout and I thought they really hit it on the head with the effect that they picked for the Night Fury dragon. The screaming dive bomber effect without actually being able to see what was creating it, followed by the thing unloading a single heavy duty burst of fire really stuck out to me amongst all the rest of the sound mayhem. You got the feeling that if you heard something like that in real life then it was probably the last thing you heard, and if you survived you would be scared crapless to ever hear it again.This film was a much better Dreamworks effort than "Monsters versus Aliens". "HttYD" really works well on the big screen where "MvsA" kind of fell flat. I'd give this one at least a B+.


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#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted April 05 2010 - 06:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwin-S 

Overall, I thought this flick was pretty good. I actually liked this film a lot better than "Avatar". I just felt more invested in the characters.....especially toothless the dragon. The character has no dialogue but they succeed in making you feel a lot of sympathy for him, even though he is essentially a killing machine. I found the 3D in this film quite a bit more immersive to me than "Avatar", but it still suffers from a couple of problems: one being the amount of light reduction. The really major one is how many times the picture just looked blurry to me and at other times it felt like I was on the verge of double vision. I think I'm going to be quite comfortable holding off on buying into any 3D television technology. The tech does add a lot, but it also takes a lot away. What it takes away, colour depth and clarity, just isn't made up for by the addition of the "3rd dimension". I'll be quite happy to pick this up in 2D on blu-ray.
. . .
If I was going to pick one thing that made it worth the the 13 bucks I paid, I would have to say that the climax of this film was something to see. It really was an amazing piece of animation. The other thing that was quite impressive was the soundscape for the film. This thing really gave the surround channels a workout and I thought they really hit it on the head with the effect that they picked for the Night Fury dragon. The screaming dive bomber effect without actually being able to see what was creating it, followed by the thing unloading a single heavy duty burst of fire really stuck out to me amongst all the rest of the sound mayhem. You got the feeling that if you heard something like that in real life then it was probably the last thing you heard, and if you survived you would be scared crapless to ever hear it again.

Right on to all of that (aside from the Avatar comparison, since I haven't seen it). I am really looking forward to revisiting this on regular ol' Blu-Ray on my home system.


On a side note, I was in Super Walmart yesterday and the store-exclusive HtTYD toys and kids' clothes display was nearly wiped out.  I did manage to get a cool Toothless shirt for my son, but there weren't many left.  They had a bunch of tie-in foodstuffs displayed on a giant cardboard viking ship, which was pretty neat.


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#8 of 8 OFFLINE   MarkMel

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Posted April 05 2010 - 06:21 AM

Took the kids to see it this weekend, very well done and we all enjoyed it.  Saw it in 3-D but I think I would've liked the movie even better flat in 2-D.

I can't get used to the blurriness around the edges of my field of vision.

The kid Hicup did sound like Christian Slater and I had to wait to the end to see the credit to confirm it was not him.

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