Saturday, 8 May 2010

Secrets Of Dragon Training [Review: How To Train Your Dragon]

A war rages across cinema as live-action/CGI hybrid blockbusters face off against CGI children's movies. The children's movies are winning.

How To Train Your Dragon isn't another Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs - not quite - but it's a charming and hilarious children's film that scores above the live-action blockbusters in terms of plot, characterisation and visuals. It features believable, sympathetic and likeable characters: it's easy to care about what happens to Hiccup, a steampunk lad growing up amongst Vikings, his axe-wielding love interest Astrid, or even his enormous, comical and blinkered father (and yes, this is another film where a young man must earn his father's respect despite choosing a different path in life. I despair of cinema ever rising beyond this theme.) The supporting cast of characters are great too and the result is genuine comedy that arises from their interaction rather than just slapstick.

The film is also beautiful, particularly the dragonflight sequences that hold their own against Avatar, and it makes excellent use of the 3D viewpoint. The Viking settlement did remind me a little of isometric strategy games such as Warcraft or The Settlers, perhaps this was a deliberate reference or a merchandising option.

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