A touching fantasy tale | Sunday Observer
How to train your Dragon

A touching fantasy tale

8 November, 2020

How to Train Your Dragon is a 2010 American computer-animated action fantasy film, loosely based on the 2003 book of the same name by Cressida Cowell, produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean De Blois from a screenplay by Will Davies, Sanders, and DeBlois, and stars the voices of Jay Baruchel, Geraad Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, and Kristen Wiig. The story takes place in a mythical Viking world where a young Viking teenager named Hiccup aspires to follow his tribe's tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. After finally capturing his first dragon, a Night Fury, and with his chance at last of gaining the tribe's acceptance, he finds that he no longer wants to kill the dragon and instead befriends it.

How to Train Your Dragon premiered at the Gibson Amphitheatre on March 21, 2010, and was released in the United States five days later on March 26. The film was a commercial success, earning nearly $500 million worldwide. The film was also critically acclaimed, being praised for its animation, voice acting, writing, musical score, and 3D sequences.

Ten Annie Awards

It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score at the 83rd Academy Awards, but lost to Toy Story 3 and The Social Network, respectively. How to Train Your Dragon also won ten Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature.

Two sequels, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, were released on June 13, 2014 and February 22, 2019, respectively. Much like their predecessor, both sequels were widely praised and became box office successes. The film's success has also inspired other merchandise, becoming a franchise.

Although Disney remains the undisputed kings of animation, there are some other houses that have come up with successful franchises. 'How to Train Your Dragon' is one such example; it comes from DreamWorks Animation and Universal Pictures. How to Train Your Dragon was widely praised upon its release.

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 99 per cent of critics gave the film a positive review, based on 210 reviews from professional critics, with an overall rating average of 7.89/10. The website's critical consensus states, "Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragon soars." The film is DreamWorks Animation's highest-rated film on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 75 based on 37 reviews from critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews". CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend revealed the average grade cinemagoers gave How to Train Your Dragon was A on an A+ to F scale.

Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave it three stars out of four , stating that: "It devotes a great deal of time to aerial battles between tamed dragons and evil ones, and not much to character or story development. But it's bright, good-looking, and has high energy". Claudia Puig of USA Today gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying, "It's a thrilling action-adventure saga with exhilarating 3-D animation, a clever comedy with witty dialogue, a coming-of-age tale with surprising depth and a sweetly poignant tale of friendship between man and animal." Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers praised the film, giving it three out of four stars and writing in his print review that the film "works enough miracles of 3-D animation to charm your socks off." Roger Moore of The Orlando Sentinel, who gave the film two stars out of four, wrote a mixed review describing the film as a "more coming-of-age dramedy” or ‘everything about your world view is wrong' message movie than it is a comedy, and that seems like a waste of a funny book, some very funny actors and some darned witty animation."

Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film 2/4 stars labeling the film as, “Avatar for simpletons. But that title is already taken, by Avatar". Contrarily, Brett Michel of The Boston Phoenix stated that the film was better than Avatar. A. O. Scott of At The Movies felt the characters and the story were not strong points, but loved the cinematography and said, "that swooping and soaring, they are worth the price of a ticket, so go see it."

Village Voice film critic Ella Taylor gave a more negative review of the film, describing it as an "adequate but unremarkable animated tale". Film critic James Berardinelli of ReelViews praised the film and its story, giving it 3.5 out of 4 stars. He wrote, "Technically proficient and featuring a witty, intelligent, surprisingly insightful script, How to Train Your Dragon comes close to the level of Pixar's recent output while easily exceeding the juvenilia DreamWorks has released in the last nine years."

Entertainment Weekly film critic Owen Gleiberman praised the film giving it an A- and wrote, "How to Train Your Dragon rouses you in conventional ways, but it's also the rare animated film that uses 3-D for its breathtaking spatial and emotional possibilities." ViewLondon's Mathew Turner gave the film 4/5 stars, calling it, "beautifully animated and superbly written", and praised the voice cast, humor, and action. Matt Risley of Variety gave the film a perfect score of 5/5 stars, hailing it as, "undoubtedly Dreamworks' best film yet, and quite probably the best dragon movie ever made"


According to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is rated PG. PG stands for Parental Guidance, which the BBFC describes as: "General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children.

"A PG film should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older.How to Train Your Dragon is an excellent book-based adventure comedy about a clever young Viking which includes some fantasy violence and potentially frightening images of dragons which could scare some young movie-goers.

The dragons attack the Viking village, causing mass destruction, and in a couple of cases, they cripple characters. There's some mild flirting and two brief kisses between teens, and one bittersweet discussion about a deceased mother. Younger or more sensitive kids may jump during the dragon-fighting scenes. On a positive note, with a strong female character and an honourable, brainy protagonist, kids will learn the value of cooperation, teamwork, and seeing beyond the surface of a situation.