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28 March 2010 @ 09:35 am
The Hoard Potato: How To Train your Dragon  
Yesterday, quelonzia and I went to see How to Train Your Dragon.


I enjoyed it almost as much as I did Kung Fu Panda, and, in fact, if we hadn't seen it in 3D, I probably would have enjoyed it more than KFP—I mean, dragons, right? Alas, I find wearing 3D glasses over my regular glasses to be too distracting for the movie to pull me in quite as much. 3D was an interesting novelty with Coraline and Up, but until I can get prescription 3D lenses, I think I'm going to opt out from here on in.

That small technical issue aside, I loved this movie.

I have to agree with the consensus: between this and Kung Fu Panda, Dreamworks is finally making Pixar-quality movies, rather than just snarky, derivative flicks full "hip" jokes that audiences 20 years from now will need a reference book* to understand.

Let me be clear: How To Train Your Dragon is definitely Pixar quality, without being Pixar-style—and I don't just mean the animation, either. It's as well-paced, as well-written, and it has characters of the same depth and charisma as a Pixar flick.

But it has a completely different feel to it.

Dreamworks has found its ecological niche, and it's not the same niche as Pixar's.

One nice character touch that nobody else has really noted: it would have been very, very easy to present the other Vikings as flat-out stupid and mean. Dreamworks didn't go that route, and my hat's off to them. The vikings are loud, boisterous and coarse, and they have very little patience with things that they don't see as having immediate, practical value—but they aren't stupid. They are smart, savvy, capable professionals who have focused their abilities on a destructive and ultimately-pointless course of action, because they believe it's the only way they can survive.

I'd add more, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.

* Okay, realistically, they'll be clicking on the Clifflinks™ on the hyperlinked video file, but you know what I mean.
Geemswingywoof on March 28th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
A heartwarming tale of vikings, dragons, and prostheses.
Tombfyretombfyre on March 28th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
Yep, it was definitely one hell of an enjoyable movie. ^^ I liked all the ample body language and whatnot they put into the non-vocal characters. I too would have likely preferred to see it without the 3d glasses. Glasses over glasses tend to make the film sort of fuzzy, plus they're in the way.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on March 28th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine that they don't make 3d clip-ons for glasses that would probably work about ten thousand percent better than those paper things they had out in the theaters. As, y'know, a solution to this dilemma.
Your Obedient Serpent: ewd3athelind on March 29th, 2010 07:29 am (UTC)
Oh, the ones in theaters these days are full-on polarized shades, with sturdy plastic frames, large enough to fit over my current pair of glasses.

That doesn't mean they're not DISTRACTING, though.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on March 29th, 2010 07:57 am (UTC)
Wearing glasses over your glasses is distracting, yeah. But I had clip on sunglasses for years and that wasn't distracting at all! *shares the wealth of my experience, hehe*
SilverClawbfdragon on March 28th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
I gave HTTYD a B at first, but I've since softened up a little and am going to give it an A.

See, Pixar has gotten me used to animation with good, grown up stories that kids can still enjoy a great deal. HTTYD is a kids movie but with still a good story and well made enough for adults to enjoy; and that's OK.

I made sure to see it in 2D and I'm glad I did. I find it distracting and the quality of the lenses is not very good. Plus theaters are bad enough about running things too dark, it's only worse when you have to cut that light down by 1/4.
Stalbonstalbon on March 28th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
I likewise avoided it in 3D. I'm healing up a corneal ulcer on my right eye, and coupled with how most 3D gives me headaches, I thought it best to watch it in the standard format. Loved the movie, and much as you said, it ranks up there with Kung Fu Panda as a serious type of flick meant for kids. I still adore Shrek and it's following sequels (the second sequel being a...let's just not mention that one) but yes, it seems they're moving forward from that. Another thing I quite liked about this movie was the post-climax ending and how it played out. Without revealing any spoilers, I'll say they could have easily gone the easy route there, but I'm quite proud to see them show a somewhat shocking consequence to it all.
Araquan Skytraceraraquan on March 28th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
I think I would have enjoyed KFP more if I hadn't seen it on an IMAX screen- the local one is one of the dome style IMAX units, not the flat style, and I think that really works to the detriment of a feature film.

That being said, I still think How To Train... is the better of the two.

And, well, I did note that actually, as well as several other things. I just didn't put it down. At some point I may do a more spoileriffic review of my own, but I wanted the chance to get a second viewing in first- and that may happen on Monday.

Having seen this one in 3D though, I think that really enhanced my enjoyment of it. Then again, I don't wear glasses at this time. If I did, I'd probably mod the polarized lenses into something I can clip on... But I'm weird. }:D

Edited at 2010-03-28 10:18 pm (UTC)
Ursula Messerschmitt: Bear-Sleepingsnobahr on March 28th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
When we go to see it, it'll be the 2D version. Chronovius' vision just won't let him process 3D glasses' input.
ArchTeryxarchteryx on March 29th, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
There were many great things about this movie, but two things stood out to me.

First, how the dragons were depicted. They were neither good nor evil, but *animals*...and like any animals, they had their own needs, their own often-complex motivations and their own feelings. Toothless acted like any intelligent social animal would have acted in his situation -- fearful and suspicious at first, but in time, learning to trust.

And the flight sequences. Oh God, the flight sequences. I've never seen such scenes -- a couple of times, they moved me to tears.
one in a billionsiege on March 29th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)
The initial flight scenes in Eragon were wonderful for me; flight in Avatar was mostly watching the flyers, not the flight, though. I think I'll be spending much of tomorrow watching movies, however, and this one and the new Alice will be on my menu.