There’s a common cliché in reviews to call an entertaining film; a thrill ride or a roller-coaster experience. As much as I hate to use and embrace this kind of term, no film in history has better represented that feeling than How to Train Your Dragon. The plot is intriguing but standard; the voice work is over-top but well executed blah blah blah. I’m going to challenge myself in this review to write about only one aspect of the film because there’s only one that really matters. That aspect is of course the scenes between our main protagonist and his dragon. More specifically, the flying sequences! There’s many classic flying scenes in film’s history; none of which are better than the ones found in this movie. I’m serious. It’s better than when Superman first lifts Louis into the sky. Better than when Harry first gets on his broom or when Buzz Lightyear finally gets to infinity and beyond. Even better than (and it hurts a bit to say) when E.T takes us up in the bikes and soars across the moon.
The reason why HTTYD is so successful is a mixture of human psychology and developments in 3-D technology. First, we are introduced to our easily likeable protagonist Hiccup. Then we get a cute dragon that just happens to also be the fastest and most powerful breed. Next is a training montage where Hiccup has to work for the gift he’s about to receive and then finally we’re off and flying. The filmmakers at DreamWorks Animation set the right mood and start to use 3-D in the most beautiful display I’ve ever experienced. It’s not a subtle and cool use like Avatar, but a simple and well executed "Escapism Machine" that takes everyone in the audience and puts them on that dragon. Maybe DreamWorks puts us there so we can return to a child like simplicity. Or maybe it’s just to sell some dragon action figures. Whatever the reason is, it really worked. Go to the theaters and see this one in IMAX and 3-D. Don’t worry about the DVD, or action figures or T-shirts. I know it’s a big investment but put in the $13 and experience something truly spectacular.