FlixChatter Review: How to Train Your Dragon

I don’t know why it took me so long to watch it, as I’ve heard about this movie when Gerard Butler was cast a few years back. But in any case, I’m so glad I finally did. The movie exceeds my already-high expectation, and now stands as one of my favorite animated features ever!

The story centers on a Viking teenage boy Hiccup in a mythical Viking island where the common pests are dragons. It’s his tribes tradition to become a dragon slayer, but despite being the son of the tribe leader, Hiccup is a bit of an misfit as he doesn’t quite share the same warrior mentality as the rest. He’s small, clumsy but inventive. In fact, one of his invention ended up capturing a mysterious dragon. But his life is transformed when Hiccup and the dragon he calls Toothless form an unlikely friendship that break down the preconception each of them have about their species.

  • I initially thought, ‘Wow, Hollywood actually has a fresh, original plot for once!’ But later I learned this movie is loosely based on a book of the same name by Cressida Cowell. But still, the story feels fresh to me the way Shrek was when it first came out.
  • Though it’s an animated feature, it actually deals with some deep themes, such as overcoming fear of people/things that you don’t understand. Instead of seeking to destroy, the message is to take time to understand and build relationship to overcome old prejudices. I even read one review that suggests this should be Hilary Clinton’s approach concerning the Middle East! Now, that’s oversimplifying things just a bit too much, don’t you think? I mean, after all this is a fantasy children flick. Nonetheless, it’s a poignant message. I even think of Hiccup as applying the Samaritan’s sensibility in loving and caring for his enemy.
  • Steve over at The Film Cynics also saw an underlying message of overcoming one’s disability. I won’t say throw much of it away to those who haven’t seen this, but Hiccup and his dragon BFF will later have something to commiserate with considering their circumstances.
  • Great voice cast of Gerard Butler, Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, and Jonah Hill help bring the character to life. Baruchel is especially engaging and sympathetic as the young protagonist Hiccup–a strange name for a Viking, eh? Both Butler and Ferguson got to revel in their native Scottish brogue, clearly they’re having fun with ’em and I for one could listen to either of them read the phone book for hours! 😉 Butler got to reprise some of 300‘s Leonidas’ leadership prowess with lines like “Either we finish them, or they’ll finish us!”
  • Hiccup’s relationship with Toothless is really the best thing about this movie. Their mutual affection for each other is believable, and when the wall slowly crumbles between the two worlds, I couldn’t help getting all teary-eyed.
  • The film has incredible animation with a variety of dragons flying across the screen. It kind of remind me of the scene in Avatar when Jake first ride the banshee when Hiccup rides Toothless as he flies through the clouds. Beautiful aerial view of the village, it’s as if they’re actually filming it on a helicopter instead of simply a CGI creation.
  • I wish I had seen this in the theater to see it in its full 3D glory, but even in 2D on a home theater it’s still impressive and I was ooh-ah-ing over the breathtaking visuals. Besides the visual eye candy, the movie also offers plenty of heart… which is more than most animated features can offer these days. It’s right up there with Wall-E in terms of how much this movie affected me.

I highly recommend this film to everyone of all ages, it’s bound to entertain even those normally not fond of animation. Don’t worry, the characters won’t suddenly burst into songs on this one a la Disney movies. This one is not only worth renting but worth buying as well. After the movie is over, my husband and I both agree we definitely are getting this one on Blu-ray! 😉


What do you think of this movie, folks?

31 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: How to Train Your Dragon

    1. I would be oooh-aahing even more when I see it in the cinema I think… those flying sequences are just so cool! I’m going to read your review now.

  1. PrairieGirl

    Glad I saw in the theater, where I don’t go very often, especially for animated films. Fantastic film, I think it’s going to have a sequel? Hope so!

    1. I should’ve gone with you. I don’t know why I didn’t the fact that I LOVE both GB and Craig. Yes the sequel is in the works and the cast are back I think… it’ll be Gerry’s first ever follow-up project, he’s never done a sequel to any of his movies before.

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  3. Oh, I’m so glad that you share my love for this movie. It’s actually my favourite film this year. And this review was really lovely!
    And as you might have read over at my place recently, the sequel has officially been confirmed so we shall watch the lovely dragons again!!!!

    1. You know, it’s definitely in my Top 5 favorite films this year, Dez. It’s just so lovely and makes me want to see it again as soon as I was done watching it! This is one sequel I’m definitely excited about. If only we could all watch that together when that comes out 🙂

          1. PrairieGirl

            Hey, LOVE the clip of the HTTYD voice rehearsals! Not hard to believe GB puts so much acting effort into a voice, fascinating to watch.

  4. Hey Ruth, loved this film, it was so much fun to watch. Can’t wait to hopefully get it on DVD around Christmas time, effortlessly watchable, like all good CGI movies.

    1. It’s already one of the best selling dvd I think… I’ll probably get it on Blu-ray if I see it on sale, too. Effortlessly watchable is right Ronan, it’s hard to find a movie that everyone of all ages can enjoy but this definitely fits that category.

  5. Great review, Ruth! I think it’s important to include Avatar as a comparison here – because while the first flight in Cameron’s film was pretty cool, I don’t think they hit the same emotional notes that Dragon managed to hit. That’s the difference between making an action film and a family film, I think.

    I have to say, I don’t think this film would have been as great if they’d used something other than Scottish accents for the Vikings. With all respect due to our friends in Iceland, Norway and wherever else, the Scottish brogue is the spoonfull of sugar that helps the medicine go down – perhaps a lesson first learned after Shrek’s success.

    1. Hey thanks Steve! The flying sequence in Avatar was great IMO, but you’re right, the emotional bond between Hiccup & Toothless is far more engaging.

      Amen about the accent, but then again I’ve always been fond of anything Scottish 😉 Butler did play a real Viking before as Beowulf in Beowulf & Grendel… and I believe he kept his Scottish brogue then, too.

    1. Thanks Lee. Which part of the world are you in? Are you in the States?

      Of course you can feature my blog on yours… I’d be honored. Thanks again!

  6. This is a great review! “But still, the story feels fresh to me the way Shrek was when it first came out.” –I can relate to that 100% agree! I am glad that you enjoyed it so much. I will say that I wish you could have seen it in 3D. You may still get a chance. I know of a retail store that is showing it from time to time in 3D on their televisions.

    1. Hi Scarlet! He..he… maybe I should stop by Best Buy more often just in case they showing this movie on their 3D tvs 😉 I did see Avatar 3D a few months back in one of their 60+ tv screens, but man I’d get a headache looking at something that huge since my entertainment room is pretty small.

    1. Hi there! I actually found it from Google search so yeah, feel free to use it. Funny that I actually just re-watched HTTYD last night with my friends and still absolutely loved this movie! 😀

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