ANIMATION; 1hr 37min
VOICES BY: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera
Winging it: Hiccup
The 3-D animation in DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon pings off the screen. It’s as creative and fresh as the concept of a skinny Viking teen called Hiccup (voiced by Baruchel) who yearns to become a brawny dragon slayer but hasn’t the ghost of a clue. Hiccup’s father, Stoick the Vast (Butler), dismisses him as a left-footed waste of space, which he is in the weedy way of the whippersnapper smart. Then while bungling through Dragon Training, Hiccup inadvertently befriends one of the enemy. Toothless is a button-cute softie with luminous green ET eyes and a snarly yet cuddly nature. Bringing him into line isn’t unlike schooling a frisky pony, only this ride can fly.
It’s the coolest thing since Choc Tops when directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois put us on the dragon’s back with Hiccup — who it turns out has quite the affinity with giant reptiles. Based on Cressida Cowell’s 2003 book, Dragon is a tale about harvesting your potential, defying wrongheaded conventions and wowing the kickiest girl in Dragon class (Ferrera as Astrid) while you’re at it. But it’s also a fairytale, in which the mythical and the fabulous are everyday events.