This charming film proves the worth of the new generation of computer animation and 3D. Even with “Avatar” raising the stakes, DreamWorks does something different and compelling here. It brings you into a new sense of flying and creatures that is just wonderful. You forget very quickly that this is essentially a cartoon with celebrity voices, because the characters are engrossing and the script is warm and funny.
Special effects truly are special, in this movie. The big fires, the battles, the scenery, the people and most of all the various creatures that are dragons all pull you in and move you along with the action. You get to fly on a dragon and it’s very cool.
The plot is simple. The Vikings are having a bad time with dragons. A young Viking boy, “Hiccup”, is thought to be fairly useless by his tribe. He isn’t much good at dragon school and gets laughed at, even by the girls. He sets out to kill a dragon to prove himself as a man. Yet, once he has captured his prey, “Toothless”, he decides to train it instead of kill it. Cue lots of action, flying, fire and heart-warming.
If this sounds sugary sweet, it really isn’t like that. Adults will be as happy to have seen this as their children will be. The message about tolerance and understanding difference is sustained but does not cloy. After “Shrek” (all three movies) and the unexpectedly fun “King Fu Panda”, I couldn’t imagine more from DreamWorks. But “How To” is a very special movie and you won’t regret seeing it. I will be buying the DVD.