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Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Your typical hero story, but with cuter characters.
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★★★★★

How to Train Your Dragon

Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders

Voiced by Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson

Rated PG

Dreamworks Animation

Dreamworks has finally taken its stance against Pixar in animated films. How to Train Your Dragon took the top spot at the box office on its debut weekend on March 26, and has grossed over $158,251,066 since then. Like your usual fairy tales, How to Train Your Dragon has the formulaic plot of an unlikely hero saving the entire city from probable destruction and finally getting the girl of his dreams.

The script follows Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, the brainy son of a not-so-brainy Viking chief. Despite his reputation as a constant letdown, Hiccup dreams of becoming a laudable dragon killer until he almost kills a Nightfury, a rare dragon believed to be the most formidable one that has never been documented. A slave to his curiosity, Hiccup seeks out his unfinished kill and, inevitably, they become friends. Hiccup and his pet dragon, Toothless, seek out adventures in the sky while Hiccup adopts various engineering designs to repair Toothless’s tail. Meanwhile, Hiccup’s father has enrolled him in a dragon-slaying training camp. Due to his new friendship with Toothless, Hiccup has developed an uncanny ability to tame dragons.

The mutualistic relationship between Hiccup and Toothless is somewhat complicated by the town’s need to slay dragons. Eventually, their friendship is revealed, and Hiccup’s reputation is set for destruction. At the same time, a hive for dragons has been discovered and Hiccup’s father Stoick the Vast has set out to eliminate the hive, taking Toothless with him. Determined to rescue his dragon, Hiccup gathers his friends Snotlout, Fishlegs, Ruffnut, Guffnut, and Astrid, to help him in his quest.

Though the plot is somewhat mundane, the cinematic quality is absolutely exquisite. The animation in How to Train Your Dragon is an improvement on the visually dramatic scenery from Avatar in 3D; it allows audiences, young and old, to experience the exhilarating feeling of riding a dragon through many realistic fly scenes. In fact, How to Train Your Dragon is cinematically equivalent to Avatar minus the bad language. It contains exciting action-filled footages and has personality-enriched voice actors to make the movie both compelling and entertaining. If you were to see one movie in theaters this year, make sure it is How to Train Your Dragon; you will not be disappointed.