If you’re going to see this film having read the book you should be aware that there is very little similarity (there are Vikings in it, there are dragons in it…and that’s about it), however replacing one cliched plot with another doesn’t seem to have done this film any harm.
Seeing how this is clearly intended to be a film for kids, and that very few adults are likely to go and see it without having kids with them, it seems a little pointless me reviewing it from an adult perspective, but I will try nevertheless – I really enjoyed it. While the quality of the animation may come second best to Pixar, I’m going to stick my neck out and say that this film is more fun than many of the bigger studios efforts. Needless to say, both my sprogs loved it.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around Hiccup, a scrawny nerd who is failing to live up to his father’s Viking standards. He prefers inventing weapons for shooting dragons rather than the standard axes and warhammers, and is generally considered an outcast in his village. More by luck than skill he manages to shoot down a ‘night fury’, one of the most fearsome of the dragons, and proceeds to befriend it. Nothing new here, and you get no prizes for guessing that he will eventually save the day and earn his father’s respect.
This film probably has more action than most animation, with the opening battle against the dragons setting the tone (this was Sprog 1’s favourite part), and the film as a whole maintaining quite a fast pace. Nothing drags, the inevitable montage scenes are entertaining, there are plenty of laughs and the fights and flights scenes are exhilarating. I would even go so far as to say that the scene where he rides the dragon for the first time tops its equivalent in Avatar.
My gripe with the film is the odd voice-casting. All the adults are Scottish but the kids are American, and the biggest names have some of the smallest parts (not that their voices are distinctive enough for many kids to recognise anyway). Seems strange to me.
I don’t imagine many grown-ups will go and see it by choice, but if you know any kids you could do worse than use them as an excuse to see this.
© BRWC 2010.
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