Monday, March 29, 2010

How To Train Your Dragon

The Flick: How To Train Your Dragon (in 3D)

The Voices: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristin Wiig, etc.,

The Dealeo: Hapless, scrawny, afraid-of-his-shadow, teen Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), son of Stoick-(Butler, bristling, as usual, with the stiffest of Scottish burrs, whilst proclaiming, at short intervals, 'We AHR Vikings...this is what we du!'), doughty dragonhunter- comes into his own, owing to one of his inventions, a dragonsnarer, actually working. 'Cept that, once it does, Hiccup realises that dragons are not what most people think. He befriends the Night Fury he has downed, dubs him 'Toothless', then proceeds to mend the injured creature, through another of his inventions. A Viking MacGiver, this kid! Along the way to the ending we all know will happen, we discover some inevitable truths and scope out some choice scenery and FX. (Please see the 'Lessons Learned' segment below). Niiiiiice.

The Grading Session: 4.89 pengies out of 5. Soundtrack was negligible. Color-use and graphics were awe-inspiring, as 3D continues to move along at a smartish clip into the next stage and then scroching into the next. Several scenettes captured such progress beautifully: in a scene where a huge fire breaks out, we not only get to see the fire- hardly groundbreaking 3 D domain- but, then the smoke and ash comes drifting towards the audience, then, into the audience. As someone who has experienced this phenomenon first hand, in real life, I have to say, they got it absolutely, frighteningly, right.
The voice characterisations were good and a good fit- even forgave Gerard his inevitable geographically disjointed blustering, once he got to the more gentled, 'father-son interplay' portion of the story. Kristin Wiig was so very good- what a surprise...not! - as was America Ferrera, Jonas Hill-doing his best Jack Black- and Craig Ferguson. The dragons remain largely dialogue-free, if not silent. And that's okay with me.

Lessons Learned: I have adored dragons since I was a wee scoffer. I wrote a paper in undergrad school: 'The Structure and Function of the Common Dragon'. I have seen nearly every movie with the word 'dragon' in the title (and read quite a few books with the same). My favorite school scenes in Harry Potter involve...well, you know. It was with great joy that I expanded my HP-generated knowledge of the rank and order of the various types of dragons and their specialties. So what? Is there anything here for someone who is not dragon-obsessed? Yup. Wanna hear it? Here goes: women can be as capable as men in battle; Gerard Butler, however, is totally INcapable of submerging his Scots' accent, whether he is playing a Greek, a New Yorker, or a medieval Viking; not everything is as it first seems: not teens, not girls, not fathers or sons, and certainly not dragons, either; it is okay to be unique, even though it may take some time to get that word out to your family and friends- who, most assuredly, have other plans for you; and, finally, Night Furies, apparently, are the predecessors to black Labs. Seriously; you didn't notice the resemblance?!
That's a lot.
One final lesson, BTW, and this one I was less than thrilled to learn: movie theatres, having realised, over the past few months, the muscle, draw and power of the 3D movie has far outstripped what we held to be state-of-the-art pre-Avitar, and left those nerdy but iconic specs from Back To The Future in the distant past- has begun to pump up the fees for this technology. See, I knew Cameron would wind up making us pay for the thrill-ride!

1 comment:

  1. I wish our local movie critic could be half as insightful, considered and entertaining as you are. There is so much attention to all the facets of the movie-going experience in your writing (even down to the style of the 3D glasses!) which makes reading your blog such a joy. Keep up the great work.