HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  How to Train Your Dragon Or why pet ponies just don't cut it when you're a VikingBuy this film here.
Year: 2010
Director: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
Stars: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrara, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill, T.J. Miller, Kirsten Wiig, David Tennant
Genre: Animated, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: For three hundred years the island of Berk has been plagued by attacks from dragons that burn homes and steal livestock. Which is why the tough, strong Viking inhabitants pride themselves on being able to capture and kill the fearsome, fire-breathing monsters. Unfortunately, scrawny teenager Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is unable to accomplish this task, much to the embarrassment of his gargantuan father, the Viking chief Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler). His ongoing ineptitude also renders him invisible to the girl he secretly adores, redoubtable warrior-maiden Astrid (America Ferrara). As a rite of passage, he and Astrid attend dragonslaying classes led by hook-handed, iron-legged Gobber the Belch (Craig Ferguson), alongside other youngsters like nerdy obsessive Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), mouthy Snotlout (Jonah Hill), and squabbling twins Tuffnut (T.J. Miller) and Ruffnut (Kirsten Wiig), but hapless Hiccup fails at everything he tries.

Until one day, he miraculously manages to down a Night Fury, the most elusive and feared dragon of them all. Hiccup follows the dragon into the woods, but the oddly humane look in its eyes leaves him unable to slay the creature. Instead, Hiccup nurtures it back to health and strikes up a firm friendship with the dragon he dubs Toothless. His newfound mastery of dragon lore enables Hiccup to triumph in dragonslaying practice, which irks Astrid at first until she eventually becomes his closest confidante. Together they discover dragons aren’t nasty at all, but there is something altogether more terrifying hidden on the island.

Since when did Vikings sound Scottish? Aside from this slightly culturally-confused voice casting, How to Train Your Dragon is a resounding triumph, an eye-popping fantasy spectacle that packs a surprisingly potent dramatic punch. Based on the series of books by British author Cressida Cowell, the plot differs considerably from its source what with the addition of gutsy love interest Astrid and the inflated size of the dragon Toothless, but the alterations prove wholly beneficial. Co-directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois previously made the offbeat Disney animation Lilo and Stitch (2002) which was notable, among many things, for their inclusion of a young heroine with serious emotional problems. Their knack for psychologically complex characters laced with goofy good humour is equally apparent here. Scenes between Hiccup and the conflicted Stoick, torn between an obvious love for his son and the bullheaded bluster of his position, are beautifully observed and performed by an energetic cast, even if it takes a while to get used to hearing Jay Baruchel’s croaky sarcasm coming from such a young looking boy.

The screenplay, co-authored by DeBlois, argues the importance of ingenuity and compassion over brute force and misguidedly gung-ho heroism, as the young characters discover that Viking tradition may be part of the problem since the dragons are similarly defending their right to exist. Both sides are locked in fight for survival that can only be resolved by a hero that applies the values of civilization, reason and decency and a will to live harmoniously with nature. Genius cinematographer Roger Deakins is listed as visual consultant and brings a vibrant realism to the often astounding images, especially the aerial sequences that give Hayao Miyazaki films a run for their money. Equally impressive are the dragon designs that encompass not only the endearingly expressive Toothless but an array of goggle-eyed eccentric beasties and, perhaps most spectacularly of all, the climactic behemoth that erupts out of the earth to terrorize the Viking warriors. It is a spill-your-popcorn-and-gasp moment.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1718 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: