How To Train Your Dragon - Blu-ray Review

'like Bigfoot And The Hendersons, it does nothing new or unpredictable within the mini-genre of 'Inconvenient Pet Movie''

Remember Bigfoot And The Hendersons? Probably not. A quick re-cap for those who didn't have the pleasure of experiencing that film: The Hendersons (Father Henderson played by John Lithgow) find themselves custodians of Harry, a Bigfoot who wrecks their home and threatens their existence yet, as they get to know him, appears to be a gentle giant who loves the family members as much as they love each other.

In How To Train Your Dragon, a creature-feature in all but the fact that it's an animation, the plot is innately similar. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) befriends dragon Toothless, apparently mortal enemy of his village but really a misunderstood gentle giant, and proceeds to try to tame him in a bid to gain the acceptance of his Viking tribe. Toothless is unwieldy, large; categorically trouble, but nevertheless, Hiccup plods ahead with his scheme. What could possibly go wrong? Might this be the source of some semi-hilarious hi-jinx as the film progresses?

And therein lies the problem with HTTYD. It's not that its not charming (it is), nor that it doesn't feature gorgeous visuals (it does), nor even that it doesn't have one or two great set pieces (it has them too). It's just that, like Bigfoot And The Hendersons, it does nothing new or unpredictable within the mini-genre of 'Inconvenient Pet Movie'.

Hiccup has a love interest (Astrid, voiced by Ugly Betty's America Ferrera), might Toothless help/hinder his relationship with her? Hiccup has a Father (Gerard Butler), might Toothless help/hinder his relationship with him? There's a lot of adhering to formula here, worse than that, at times it feels more like going through the motions.

On the plus side though, it's hard to not like a film such as this. The creature creation and character design is excellent, the jokes were occasionally snort-inducing and the stellar voice cast (from Butler to Jonah Hill) perform admirably.

Despite that though, the over-whelming preference at the end is to trot out the 'one for the kids' line. It lacked the sparkle of Pixar, the madcap randomness and invention of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, the attempted pop culture relevance of the early Shrek films. It's fluff and very base comedy in the same way that all 'Inconvenient Pet Films' are. Not that that makes a bad movie. It just certainly doesn't make a great one.

Look further...

'impresses with its great story, that has effective emotional depth, and enchanting visuals' - Dan The Man's Movie Reviews, 8.5/10


  1. You know, I actually loved this film.

    Maybe it is because my kids are such filmies (they are 4 and 6) now and they watch so many films that when ever we see one that is made for cinema, I get excited.

    It certainly is a hell of a lot better than Santa Buddies that they went through a stage of watching and re watching.

    I agree that it follows a well troden path, but it is pretty enough to see it through. Toothless looks just like our cat when she is being naughty too!!

    Nice review


  2. A lot of people have Custard so you're by no means alone. I enjoyed it but I just didn't fall in love with it on the same level as releases like CLOUDY... or WALL.E. That said, I suspect this is indeed a step up from SANTA BUDDIES... whatever that may be.

  3. hehehe

    I won't bore you with what the "Buddies" film brand is. Just promise me you will never watch any of them!!


  4. You have my immensely sincere promise that that will never happen.

  5. Predictable, yes. The charm of the characters won me over however. It is one of the few films I have seen to utilize 3D in the best possible way, particularly during the flying sequences. I have not seen it on Blu-ray, which you did, so we're obviously coming to the film from different angles.

  6. A very good point that Edgar and I've heard that from others. Part of me wishes I had seen it in 3D to judge how much more it had to offer. Perhaps in a gazillion years when I can afford a 3D TV hey!