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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 18 February 2012
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.
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on 13 December 2010
I missed this film when it came round at the cinema and hesitated to buy it for my kids (girl aged 6 and boy aged 4) when it came out on DVD/Blu-Ray. Having taken the plunge I was very pleasantly surprised by this film that is now my kids' firm favourite.

The first time they watched it they were a little scared in places but never too much. Some supposedly young children's films still scare my kids so much that they're not keen to see them again but this film they wanted to see again straight away.

The animation is beautifully done (and stunning on Blu-Ray), particularly that of the main dragon which is more like a cat than a lizard, and I have to say that the big bad dragon at the end of the film is one of the most impressive CGI monsters I've seen in any film, children's or otherwise. The music is wonderful and you'll have trouble getting the theme out of your head if you watch the film a couple of times. The basic story is quite straightforward but the themes are nicely tackled - not always following the herd, being yourself, dealing with parental rejection, overcoming fears and prejudices...

All in all I'd say this is one of the best children's films of recent years, up there with Cars and WALL-E, and one which should appeal to both boys and girls (and young-at-heart adults too).
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I was so glad I went to see this film and by the looks of everyone's face after the film I wasn't the only one who really enjoyed it; not only children, but I think the adults enjoyed it more!

The animation looks stunning, the voice's were spot on for the characters and the storyline was just... amazing.
You will fall in love with the characters, and will feel their emotion.

This film is one that could be watched many times, so I would recommend to buy this film than rent it.
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on 11 March 2011
It is very rare to find a film that causes me to leave a cinema in stunned silence- but this was one of the very few to leave me speechless. And its brilliance does not diminish on repeated viewing. The plot is both surprising and thoughtful- a complete story with no wasted scenes, no periods where the direction of the story is lost. But its genius is the amazing animation, which equals or surpasses the best of Pixar. The scenes where Toothless tries to feed Hiccup a fish and Astrid's first flight on Toothless are quite exceptional. Definitely the best Dreamworks film and fully belongs with the original Toy Story & The Incredibles as the best modern day animation films. I loved Toy Story 3 but this is better. This should have won an Oscar. When you consider that anyone of every age will enjoy this film- it wins my nomination for best film of the year (it's also in my top 3 of all time). Well done Dreamworks!
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on 9 April 2010
The release of this film had my expectations running quite high, given the pedigree of recent films from Dreamworks, which had set the standard. 'How to Train Your Dragon' definitely rose to the challenge, with flawless animation and great depth of field if you see it in 3D at the cinema. The characters are well developed though portrayed quite simply, but this is all thats needed. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and would recommend it to anyone (no kids required) who enjoys their Dreamworks films for the quality of animations, reality of characters and high level of entertainment, with a teaspoon of cuteness added for good measure.

A previous reviewer critisised the film's lack of plot, and while I can agree on it being predictable it certinately wasn't boring. There are some great comedy moments, especially when Hiccup is getting to know Toothless, the Nightfury dragon (who bears an uncanny resemblence to Disney's Stitch (Lilo And Stitch). The temprement of the Dragon is so endeering you really feel involved in its development, and the depth of character of both protagonist and 'pet' is astounding. Both Hiccup and Toothless are embarking on the same journey, breaking free from their stereotypical cultural behaviour (Hiccup's Viking urge to kill dragons, and Toothless's dragon urge to kill humans). Its a film about unfamiliar cultural perceptions, and overcoming these on a route to something better, and both Hiccup and Toothless achieve this through 'being true to themselves', if I'm allowed that cutsie ideological statement.

All in all, a very entertaining couple of hours, and easily comparable to the likes of Madagascar. Dreamworks does it again!

And the Scottish actor's voice you can't quite recognise.....? David Tennent :-)
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on 4 April 2011
This story is original, the animation beautiful, a family favourite for all time! No kissy scenes that makes adults sqirm. No rude or lewd gestures. Just a great story that will leave you wishing that you were a viking and had a pet dragon too!
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on 25 August 2010
In my household insertion of a Dreamworks DVD is a great way to clear the room for the over fives and Pixar a way of getting fives to fifties to take a seat.

Ok, so it's not the most balanced yardstick, but Pixar generally have the upper hand on wit, story, character and pan-generational appeal and Dreamworks the monopoly on horrible also-rans. Ok, "Help me I'm a Fish" isn't by either and that's perhaps the weakest children's animated film of all time.

Have you ever suffered `Flushed Away' or `Over the Hedge'? Can I swear? Can I have those hours of my life back please?

This film however should get Pixar worried. I went along to the cinema with my kids. I was full of fake dad-enthusiasm, then felt a bit sheepish because I was hooked from the opening scenes. It looks great, it races along, the dialogue is great fun, visually it's stunning and yes, it gets you all emotional. Yes it's just a bit of fun, but hiding your awkward shiny eyes as you root for the good guys is perhaps something we dads can get away with in the darkness of the cinema!

This film is something of an oddity in our times. It's really fantastic entertainment, but somehow it wasn't hyped beyond belief and none of my friends (and they all have young kids now) have heard of it. Very odd. I've been a bit of an ambassador since and spread the word.

A real treat. I think the November release for the DVD is pretty good really. On a November Saturday night when the rain is thumping down and the family is getting irritating, sit them down and watch with them.

That's boys and girls alike by the way. The heroine has attitude and swagger without being a foul role model like a Bratz doll and the main character (a boy) succeeds and fails in equal measure. Both are awkward, difficult and willing to learn as long as they don't lose their cool!

A stunner - enjoy. And no I don't care if the accents weren't right, or the story wasn't like the book or one of helmets wasn't historically accurate. Blah blah blah. Relax and put your feet up.

Ok, that's off my chest and my wife will hope I'll stop going on about it... until the DVD is released and then I will sit her down with a glass of red and the kids at our feet...
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on 19 November 2010
I absolutely love this DVD because it involves flying dragon and I love any flying things. Also it is very exiting because you don't know what is going to happen next. The dragon's eyes are very big, sometimes very cute but I think the mean dragons' eyes look very evil.
The film was a bit scary and made me jump a few times.
I love the film so much, I want to read the book.
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on 17 November 2010
In fact I would go as far and say that all three us think this is the best computer animated film to come out this year overall. The relationship between Hiccup the boy Viking and Toothless a very cute black dragon is very funny and touching at the same time. The voice acting is most excellent and includes "Gerard Butler" who starred in the film 300 as Hiccup's ultra hard as nails Viking dad. I've always had a interest in Vikings and dragons since I was a little boy and this film really captures the spirit of both very well indeed. The computer animation looks stunning on blu-ray with crystal clear detail. I found the story very enjoyable and it contains a very good message within it too. Overall this is the best DreamWorks computer animated cartoon since Shrek 2 and it really does desreve all the brilliant reviews it is receiving.
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on 25 September 2015
One of the best family films in recent years, and it does 3D very well. Rather than throwing things through the screen to try and make you jump, the 3D is used to make the magical world larger and more immersive - the flying scenes are particularly enjoyable. Graphics are stunning throughout, both on the main characters and the surrounding scenery / world.
The story line is engaging, subtly deals with topics such as prejudice, be true to yourself, have a voice etc.
My whole family loves the film, its an easy watch and holds the attention of all family members.
All I want to know is, where can I get my own real life Toothless!!
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