How to Train Your Dragon 馴龍高手
By James Topley, The China Post
March 26, 2010, 4:30 pm TWN
DreamWorks brings us its latest animation creation through the eyes of "Lilo and Stitch" directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois in "How to Train Your Dragon,"released this weekend islandwide.
Based on the 8-part book series by Cressida Cowell, the two directors have condensed the novel into a somewhat short-hand prequel version, suitable to armchair audiences who desire visual stimuli over anything else. However they do not disappoint, as only last year's "Avatar" has more stupefying 3-D realism.
"How to Train Your Dragon" centers on the Viking-inhabited isle of Berk, which has some unwelcome reptilian "pests," yet one boy thinks they'll make great pets.
Hiccup played by Jake Baruchel, is a little different from all the other Viking boys. He's thin for a Viking and not similar to the others. His gangly features as well as an oddball idea that dragons may not be as terrible as everyone thinks are what sets him apart from his peers and his father, the clan's leader, Chief Stoick (Gerard Butler).
He's a social misfit out to prove everyone wrong.
More than anything else, Hiccup wants to down a dragon as he wants to prove himself to his father. Despite his willingness, his father sees that the boy's strength does not lie in slaying dragons and attempts to dissuade young Hiccup from putting himself in harm's way. Under attack from a barrage of these "pests," the village is somewhat preoccupied as Hiccup ventures out to see if he can help. Sighting the mysterious Night Fury — a pitch-black breed of flying dragons, of which little is known — he trains his homemade device on the shadow and fires.
While the clan's survival instinct is to fight first and ask questions later, Hiccup is more curious than most, and so he designed his device to capture rather than to kill. And it works, he manages to ensnare a Night Fury, and overnight his world is turned upside down, quite literally.
Learning first-hand about the Night Fury which he names "Toothless," Hiccup discovers that he has a way with dragons and he begins to put his newfound skills to good use in dragon school, much to the dismay of his fellow pupils and teacher.
It's somewhat predictable from the premise of the film that young Hiccup will have his talents recognized eventually, yet it's unpredictable what his talents are, and because of this, it's really entertaining to watch.