We're in the thick of the summer movie season as the big blockbusters role out with the tent pole features and the sequels that we love so well. It's not uncommon that in advance of a few of these sequels we get to revisit the first installment in these franchises that we love so well. "How To Train Your Dragon" is such a simple, yet effective formula as it unravels a story that works on multiple ages groups and is now re-released on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack.
"How To Train Your Dragon" tells the story of Hiccup (voice of Jay Baruchel), a Viking teenager who doesn’t exactly fit in with his tribe's longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. Hiccup's world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges he and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view as everything that they previously thought about dragon's was wrong as an unexpected enemy enters the picture for all of their existences.
From beginning to end, "How To Train Your Dragon" is the kind of delightful romp that cemented DreamWorks Animation as a genuine force in a landscape that had previously been dominated by the likes of the Disney & Pixar's of the world.
Directors Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders who also co-wrote the screenplay that treads that very delicate and very particular line between wholesome and entertaining for every age and just pandering to the younger set. It's filled with great story arc's about self confidence, the relationships between fathers and sons, as well as never judging anyone based on their appearance while it wraps it all up in a swaddle of action and mayhem. The story never drags and always has a purpose, keeping the main narrative in perfect harmony with the sight gags and goofy comedy bits that the kids love. It's a smart, smart film that everyone can access thanks to some great performances.
Canada's own Jay Baruchel has truly managed to stumble upon what might be one of the better animated characters in recent memory and successfully made him his very own. As Hiccup he captures the uncertainty of not knowing what to do with his life while still struggling with the desires to please his alpha male father, the town leader Stoick (voiced by Gerard Butler, with a genuine sage aplomb). The likes of Colin Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz Plasse, TJ Miller and Kirsten Wiig round out the voice cast, but it all comes back around the Baruchel who truly carries the story, exactly where it needs to go.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are first rate and special features on this combo pack release include a plethora of behind the scenes looks at the making of as well as the "Legend of the BoneKnapper Dragon" short, deleted scenes, a new episode of "Dragons: Defenders of Berk", filmmakers commentary, a trivia track and much, much more.
At the end of the day, to call "How To Train Your Dragon" a modern animated classic is by no means a stretch as it executes every element of this kind of story not only perfectly, but effortlessly as we just get to sit back and enjoy the ride.
5 out of 5 stars.
"How To Train Your Dragon" is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand from retailers everywhere.