This was a very good film. And if I sound surprised, it's because I am. I can't say I heard much about it when it was released at the cinema or afterwards on its DVD release and I mistakenly put that down to it being a very average film in a market with an over-abundance of very average films. Plus, whisper it, Pixar do tend to have the upper hand on Dreamworks. Oh, how wrong I was.
How To Train Your Dragon is a funny and well made film about Vikings (why aren't there more Vikings in films? I loved Vikings as a kid) and their ongoing battles with the dragons in the area. The story is simple and follows Hiccup as he tries to gain the respect of his father, the village leader, but simple does not equate to dull. There is a blend of visual and verbal gags that took me a couple of watches to pick up on, so it does stand up to a rewatch or two.
I sometimes think animated characters tend to blend into one, with nothing really to separate them. Here, each character is an individual, all have distinct personalities and all of them are a joy. Even the dragons have great characterisation.
The animation is brilliant, with extra points going to the dragons, obviously, but, perhaps not so obviously, the backgrounds and scenery. When Toothless is flying, it's thrilling to watch.
I sat and watched this with a huge grin of my face and it's a film that can be enjoyed by anyone (no kids in my household, just four adults and we all liked it a lot). Even the fact that the adults were Scottish and the kids American (Scottish Vikings being a bit historically inaccurate, to say the least) didn't bother me all that much.
Finally, one last point, can I have my very own Toothless please? He's just adorable.