If anyone out there still thinks that, even though it helped push the highest grossing movie of all time (Avatar) into that slot, 3D films are a fad that will soon go away; I think you're sorely mistaken. In fact, if anything, they're just going to keep getting better and better and better. How to Train Your Dragon is an example of that. I thought that Avatar was the best 3D film I ever saw, but that was only because I hadn't seen How to Train Your Dragon yet. This film is from the two guys that brought us the inexplicably popular Disney movie Lilo & Stitch. I never understood why anyone could stand that movie, let alone enjoy it. But after breaking away from Disney and joining the ranks of Dreamworks, they are allowed to fly higher than they ever did before...literally. This animated movie employees half the cast of Superbad and Knocked Up, such as Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson and Gerald Butler, who's finally allowed to use his real Scottish accent and shows that he's not such a rotten actor after all. The film involves a group of Vikings and their daily battles with neighboring dragons until the scrawny Hiccup (voiced by Baruchel) finds out they're not so bad. Yeah, it's predictable. I keep reminding myself that when it comes to plots, I should consider that the target audience is about 20 years younger than me. These are not the same genius writers of the Shrek movies or anything from Pixar; there's no clever jokes that kids laugh at but adults laugh at harder because of the subtext. Actually there aren't many jokes in this at all, but it doesn't need them. The story opens up to allow for some amazing action sequences that are gorgeously animated. When they're paired up with the 3D animation and the sweepingly epic score by John Powell (the "go-to" guy for computer animated films), you've got filmmaking that takes even the most jaded of moviegoers' breath away. What's even more impressive is the character and emotion they give to the dragons without copping out on the old trick of making them talk. It's a brilliant move on the directors' and animators' part to make the dragons a seamless mix between domestic dogs and cats. By showing both they hit the heartstrings of probably 85% of America. Do I wish the plot was a little less formulaic? Yes. Do I wish there were some jokes written in that would entertain the adults as well as the kids? Absolutely. Did I still think it was a fantastically entertaining movie? You bet your ass! But failing to see this film in 3D will undoubtedly not give you the same enjoyment level that it gave me. Spring for the extra $4 on a ticket and you'll know what I mean when you'll feel like the only thing missing from this film is the wind on your face as you ride on the back of your dragon too.
How to Train Your Dragon (Rated PG)
Gavin Grade: A