Skip to content

At the Movies with Peter Clease: How to Train Your Dragon

Traditionally, movies inspire equalization to the author's previous works, but, with aspired learning, can gravitate to larger achievements; visionaries in animation are no different.

Traditionally, movies inspire equalization to the author's previous works, but, with aspired learning, can gravitate to larger achievements; visionaries in animation are no different. To name a few: Disney, the primary genius of his medium, built on his stunning debut, "Snow White," with bolder films like "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia" -- and Miyazaki, dubbed the "Japanese Disney," continues to rewrite the formula for which we associate "animation" with animation. Combining breathtaking visual technique, sincerity and an astute use of throwback silence, Pixar lays claim as their heir with the likes of "WALL-E," "Ratatouille" and "Up." DreamWorks represents their younger brother, scolded by parental hand, lacking future lessons and oblivious to expectations -- "How to Train Your Dragon" makes the case that the lad's days of youth are numbered. Kids grow up so fast. Vikings, dragons and sheep--oh my! -- Vikings, dragons and sheep -- oh my! "How to Train Your Dragon" centres on the conflicts between Vikings and dragons with sheep merely as the means to adhere to conflict. Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), son to the leader of the Vikings, is a disastrous force that leads to more problems than were originally promised -- but, in swift ironic coincidence, he catches the most deadly of all dragons, the stealthy Night Fury. Here, in "Avatarian" invention, Hiccup cannot slay the beast, preferring to bond with it in contrast, naming it Toothless; he believes dragons to be misunderstood creatures rather than bloodthirsty bohemians. "How to Train Your Dragon" is a triple threat charmer. It succeeds in its inane ability to move from moments of pure delight, thrilling action and earnest sentiment. The scenes between Hiccup and Toothless are done with quiet simplicity--no shouting required --whether they are moments of mutual trust or in the exciting flying sequences. "How to Train Your Dragon" than completes its cycles in an epical battle and moving epilogue. It works not because of its worn elements, but by its enhancement of those elements. In short: "How to Train Your Dragon" is the finest film under the DreamWorks label.

4.5 stars out of 5.