How To Train Your Dragon – My Review

How To Train Your Dragon was unexpectedly a delightful film to watch. At first I wasn’t interested, after reading the synopsis I felt it would be a good watch, but after watching it, it was much better than I thought it was going to be. It’s fresh, magical, beautifully animated and a touching family film. It proves that DreamWorks can give some serious competition to Pixar.

DreamWorks? Pixar? If you are a fan of animation, you may want to note down the names of two of the biggest animation studios. In 1995, Pixar gave us the first computer animated film – Toy Story, a groundbreaking film that totally changed animation. Both of them have gone head to head for over a decade. Below are names of some of their biggest films:

Wow! Till 2009, I have a copy of all the titles (sniff!) Now you can pick the animation film you liked and then decide which animation studio is your favorite.

Coming back to – How To Train Your Dragon, the movie is about a young Viking boy Hiccup, who aspires to hunt dragons like his brut father Stoick and someday slay the most dangerous dragon ‘Night Fury’ which has never been hunted before by any of the Vikings.

During the opening battle with the dragons, Hiccup tries to help his village and shoots down the ultra-destructive dragon – Night Fury. Hiccup excitedly runs to tell everyone, however no one believes him. Next day, to get the proof of his hunt, Hiccup goes to the woods and finds the downed dragon, which is unable to fly due to a broken tail. Hiccup forces himself to kill the beast but instead he frees it allowing it to escape.

From there, Hiccup and the dragon, he calls Toothless become friends and Hiccup helps the dragon re-learn how to fly by attaching an artificial tail fin. Hiccup learns all about dragons, what they like, hate and are afraid of and uses this information to rise to the top of his class in a dragon fighting school. Above all, he learns that dragons are not at all brutal and finds out the secret as to why the dragons keep attacking their village for food. However things change when Hiccups father finds out about his son’s pet dragon.

If you have ever kept a pet you will definitely love Toothless. DreamWorks fabulously showed the dependent and caring friendship between Hiccup and Toothless. The animation looks outstanding, especially the landscapes shown during the flying sequences which may remind you of James Cameron’s  ‘Avatar’ – remember the mighty dragon Toruk, that only five Na’vi had ever tamed and then our hero Jake goes on to tame the dragon.

How To Train Your Dragon stands tall, however I’m restlessly waiting for Pixar’s Toy Story 3 to be out in June.

My Rating: 4/5

Kenneth Peter — kennethpeter.com

Best Animated Movies of 2009

Up

The movie poster seemed a little bizarre, an old man, a kid and a dog all hanging to a house suspended by balloons. Another kiddie movie I told myself, but after watching it, I realized that it wasn’t.

Another compelling storyline offered by Disney & Pixar. It has the best and saddest opening sequence ever – the one that shows Carl & Ellie’s married life, shown in about 4 minutes, makes one smile and cry at the same time.

The films about a widower Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman who fulfills his lifelong dream of great adventure along with the dream of his wife of having their house on top of Paradise falls in South America.

Fave Sidekick: Dug the Dog

The sweet, nerdy and simple-minded talking dog, loved the hilarious reoccurring squirrel gag in the film. Time and again I want to use his line “I have just met you, and I love you.”

Coraline

This animated film was creepy right from the beginning, there is a sense of dread that makes you wonder should you gift a copy of it to your younger siblings? I think it can be a little scary and intense for little kids.

Coraline is a young girl whose parents are preoccupied with their own busy lives to an extent that they ignore their daughter. Coraline feels neglected. One night she crawls through a hidden passage to a secret world, where she finds new and improved mom and dad, who love her and take care of her needs, but if Coraline wants to stay back with her ‘Other Parents’ she has to get buttons sewed in place of her eyes.

Fave Sidekick: The Cat

The mysterious black cat that guides Coraline through her journeys. Thought the cat was one of the stooges of the ‘Other Mother’ as it had no counterpart in the other world and could travel freely from one world to the other.

Fantastic Mr Fox

During primary school, my American English teacher made us read Roald Dahl books, making him my favorite childhood author. Some of his books that I have read include – James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, and Danny, the Champion of the World

Not a fan of stop motion animation, but it was great to watch the film of the book I read while in Class III. Mr. Fox played by George Clooney, is a rebellious fox who tries to be a responsible father and a husband, but fails to keep his wild side away from him and does what foxes are known for – being clever, good in stealing and digging. And so begins Mr. Fox’s hen heckling, turkey taking and cider sipping adventures. Loved Mr. Fox’s trademark – the whistle with the clicky sound…try doing that, its kind of cool.

Fave Sidekick: Ash

Ash, the little dimwit and runty son of Mr. Fox was fantastically hilarious to watch. Loved the way he tries to be an athlete in order to impress his father and his jealousy towards his more than perfect cousin. He shocks Mr. Fox was when he says “I’m as light as a feather,” and dodges all the bullets and releases the hound allowing the group to escape.

The Princess and the Frog

Never wanted to watch this as it seemed like classic Disney 2D fairy tale, girly movies like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella etc (although I grew up watching all of them, but now we all are so used to watching sleek 3D animation) and kept ignoring it for months. After reading some good reviews of it, I gathered all the courage to watch it.

The movie gets better in what seems to be the second half, where the transformation to a frog takes place. The films about Tiana, a young waitress who aspires to open her own restaurant. We have a classic villain, the evil voodoo man, Dr. Facilier who changes the visiting Prince to a frog. When the prince, now a frog meets Tiana, who is in guise of a princess, he tries to convince her to kiss him in order to reverse the spell, but something unimaginable happens – Tiana too changes into a frog.

Fave Sidekick: Ray

This lovesick Cajun firefly stole the show, if you know about ‘Evangeline’ you know what exactly I’m taking about. Loved the part when they show the two stars shining together, only Disney can come up with such wonderful stuff.

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

It was great to see Manny, Diego and Sid back in action after a gap of 3 years. The trailer and the poster showed that Manny was no longer the biggest thing alive

Yet again, in the third installment Sid does what he does best – gets himself into trouble. Sid adopts three dinosaurs and ends up in a strange underground Jurassic Park, where his friends must go to rescue him. The herd, along with Ellie, expecting her first child end up in the land of dinosaurs and meet the one-eyed weasel Buck, a dinosaur hunter who helps them in their journey.

Fave Sidekick: Buck

This one-eyed swashbuckling, fanatic weasel was a delight to watch. He replaced Diego as my fave character in the film. He is a complete weirdo, the best part was when he says “About three months ago. I woke up married to a pineapple… An ‘Ugly’ pineapple.” He is heroic weasel on a mission, i.e., to hunt the toughest, biggest and the most vicious dinosaur, he calls – Rudy. Let’s go Buckwild!

Kenneth Peter — kennethpeter.com