Good Family Entertainment
The observant among you would have noted that I made no mention of this movie in my review of new releases. Well that’s because this movie hasn’t been released yet. This weekend saw preview screenings to no doubt get the buzz going.
In the latest animation from Dreamworks we see dragon rider Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) exploring the land with his partner in crime Toothless. While all is well in his home of Berk, Hiccup is struggling to find his place in the world while his father Stoick (Gerard Butler) is ready to announce his retirement as Chief and hand over the reigns to his son. Hiccup comes across some dragon trappers and learns of a threat to the peace on the form of Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou).
The computer animation is top notch. It’s a match for Frozen (2013) in this regard and the movie captures the grace and beauty of what it is to ride a dragon (if such a thing was possible). The animation also does a good job of capturing the emotions of each of the characters and I continue to be impressed by the ability of these films to present nuance and humour. There are clear themes in the movie from self discovery to family drama to the importance of overcoming prejudice.
I have a few minor gripes with the movie. The score is a little heavy handed as it directs the audience in what to feel and unsurprisingly the dialogue is a bit cheesy and obvious. There are few surprises in the plot and some of the minor characters are really irritating but thankfully they don’t appear on screen for too long, primarily to cheer on Hiccup as he performs his daring escapades.
All in all I enjoyed this movie and I would definitely place it in the higher echelons of CG animated movies. It came as a welcome relief as I watched it on the back of Walking On Sunshine (2014) – see my separate review of that little ditty.