***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
How to Train Your Dragon - 5 out of 5
We are living in a golden age of animated movies. No longer are animated movies only for kids. They've become an experience that can be enjoyed by the young and old and we have Pixar and their amazing writing to thank for that.
Since Pixar jumped on the scene, Dreamworks decided to try their hand at computer animated movies and struck gold with Shrek. However, other endeavors have been less than promising as they are usually unimaginitive, weak stories usually filled with talking animals making the same smirk that has become synonymous with Dreamworks. It's not that Dreamworks movies are particularly bad, it's just Pixar has always overshadowed them in the creativity and writing departments. However, How to Train Your Dragon has proven that Dreamswork can now be a real competitor against Pixar.
The writing in HTTYD is phenomenal as it showcase great characters and situations that we can relate to (even though dragons are involved). We see a young viking, Hiccup (perfectly acted by Jay Baruchel) trying to get the approval of his father (Gerard Butler). We can all relate to that. It gets even better as Hiccup befriends a dragon (the awesome Toothless) and we find the young viking going against the established ways to do what is right. Simple story we can all relate to and Dreamworks delivers it well.
The voice acting is top notch with actors who fit their characters perfectly. Craig Ferguson is one of the many actors who sticks out. Even Gerard Butler, who's movies have been quite lackluster ever since 300, shown that he can actually ACT. But all the praise can't just be poured on the actors. The duo that brought us Lilo & Stitch (Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders) are the masterminds who directed this one and did a fabulous job doing so.
Finally, the animation and character designs are just plain spectacular. When you add all these ingredients (great story, awesome animation, fantastic humor and great voice acting) you have what became the best movie I saw during the summer. Plus, there's dragons in it and how cool are dragons? To answer that rhetorical question: Very cool!