Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"How to Train Your Dragon" is Pure Magic

James Cameron can suck it, "How to Train Your Dragon" is the best use of 3D we've ever seen.

eautiful, well-imagined and unexpectedly touching, Dreamworks Animation has a new crown jewel to trump their previous best effort, "Shrek."

The film is set on the island of Berk, where daily combat with dragons is the way of life, until a young boy meets and befriends the enemy, hoping to turn his community from dragon-slayers into dragon lovers. Featuring some of the funniest rising comedic talent Hollywood has on tap, Jay Baruchel leads the charge as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, a Viking without the blood lust or battle prowess that made his father, Stoick the Vast, the chieftain of their tribe. Stoick, voiced by Gerard Butler in a disarmingly compelling turn that's an amalgam of King Leonidas and Asterix from the French comics, sends his son to dragon training in an effort to turn the thoughtful young boy into a man, not realizing the friendship his child is developing with the most fearsome of all dragons, a Night Fury, who Hiccup dubs "Toothless."

Utterly engrossing, heart-warming and filled with wonder, the non-verbal communication between Hiccup and Toothless will have every child (and many adults) whining "I want a Night Fury too!" while the flying scenes send you soaring and wheeling, taking the audience on a ride felt in the pit of your stomach. Proving the power of both 3D and animation, the world directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois have created in completely immersive thanks to outstanding execution. Fantastic voice talent, great storytelling and stunning visuals would be enough to make "How to Train Your Dragon" a must see, but it goes beyond the expected, becoming a euphoric and transportive viewing experience that can best be described in one word: Magical.

"How to Train Your Dragon" opens March 26.

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