From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
“How to Train Your Dragon” Double DVD Pack
With its thrilling action sequences, touching tale and gentle wit, “How to Train Your Dragon” keeps soaring even with repeated viewings.
Parents of adventurous children should expect to see it often; my preschool son has rarely allowed the DVD to leave the player since I brought it home. But the layered story, engaging characters and rich animation – especially the exhilarating flying scenes – keep the firebreathing film stoked.
Based on Cressida Cowell’s book series, the movie centers on a scrawny, clever and disaster-prone Viking teen named Hiccup (voice of Jay Baruchel). Much to the chagrin of his father, chief Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), Hiccup isn’t a brawny warrior equipped to battle the dragons that regularly raid their island.
Hiccup desperately wants to prove his mettle by killing a dragon, but he is relegated to apprenticing with outspoken blacksmith Gobber (Craig Ferguson). During a nighttime attack, Hiccup sneaks away and uses one of his often-mocked inventions to bring down a Night Fury, the most mysterious of the fascinatingly divergent dragon breeds. But one sees or believes his feat.
The lad goes looking for the downed dragon, but once he finds it, can’t bring himself to kill it. Instead, he nurses the fearsome but oddly cute creature, which has a damaged tail. Hiccup bonds with the expressive (but blessedly speechless) reptile, whom he dubs Toothless, and uses his newfound insight to astound his once-sneering classmates in dragon-training class. But fierce teen fighter Astrid (America Ferrera) is suspicious of Hiccup’s sudden prowess and not only uncovers his secret but helps him unlock a key puzzle about the dragons.
Along with the feature, the double DVD set includes the fun short film “Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon,” in which the teens go with Gobber on a quest to find the fabled beast that the blacksmith claims has stalked him for decades.
Bonus features: Behind-the-scenes featurettes, commentary, deleted scenes, Cowell interview, Viking personality test and DVD-ROM activities.