Review: How To Train Your Dragon

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The Pitch: Boy meets dragon. Boy breaks in dragon. Boy has unlikely adventures riding around on back of dragon.

The Review: Another Dreamworks animation, another cheerfully unthreatening story with the same old moral. Except thankfully there is a little more to this one, if only a little more.

The initial set-up isn’t especially compelling – lots of similar looking Vikings, for some reason who start with American accents but who grow up to be Scottish – fighting randomly in the dark with some dragons, and the first 20 minutes or so feels very flat indeed.

Then the hero of the piece, Hiccup, discovers he’s downed one of the most feared dragons of all, and they slowly, surely and believably come to form an uneasy alliance and a touching bond. This relationship is at the core of the movie, and provides not only a lot of the best scenes, but also the two most rounded characters.

Eventually the story expands out, and starts to take on a more epic quality, and add in a little more depth. With that comes a slight variation on the usual Dreamworks theme, and the last hour is very enjoyable indeed, but as a whole it’s all good rather than truly great.

Why see it at the cinema: Especially in 3D, the flying and landscape sequences, while not quite Avatar-class, are still worth the price of admission.

The Score: 7/10

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