How to Train Your Dragon (film)
|How to Train Your Dragon|
Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Bonnie Arnold|
|Based on||How to Train Your Dragon
by Cressida Cowell
|Music by||John Powell|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||98 minutes|
How to Train Your Dragon is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated fantasy film by DreamWorks Animation loosely based on the English 2003 book of the same name by Cressida Cowell. The film was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, the duo who directed Disney's Lilo & Stitch. It stars the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and David Tennant.
The story takes place in a mythical Viking world where a young Viking teenager named Hiccup aspires to follow his tribe's tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. After finally capturing his first dragon, and with his chance at finally gaining the tribe's acceptance, he finds that he no longer has the desire to kill it and instead befriends it.
The film was released March 26, 2010 and was a critical and commercial success, earning nearly $500 million worldwide. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score at the 83rd Academy Awards, but lost to Toy Story 3 and The Social Network, respectively. The movie also won ten Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature.
Two sequels are currently in development, both to be written and directed by Dean DeBlois; they are scheduled to be released on June 20, 2014, and June 18, 2016. The film's success has also inspired other merchandise, including a video game and a TV series.
The island of Berk is a Viking village that is plagued by attacks from dragons. Hiccup, the awkward son of the village chieftain, Stoick the Vast, shoots down a dragon he thinks may be a Night Fury, a rare dragon nobody has ever actually seen. Hiccup locates the dragon in the forest, but finds he is unable to kill the helpless animal. Hiccup instead cuts it free. Meanwhile, Stoick assembles a fleet to seek out the dragons' nest, but before he leaves, he places Hiccup in dragon-killing classes taught by Gobber, the village blacksmith.
Searching the forest, Hiccup finds the dragon trapped in a shallow glade; the dragon's tail was injured, preventing it from flying normally. Hiccup discovers a way to earn the dragon's trust and begins to care for it. He names the Night Fury "Toothless", for its retractable teeth. Later, Hiccup fashions a makeshift harness and prosthetic tail that allows him to guide the dragon in free flight. Hiccup is able to transfer his knowledge of dragons to the other species of dragons at school, appearing to conquer each one in battle and becoming the star pupil, much to the dismay of Astrid, a girl in dragon training on whom Hiccup has a crush. Eventually Hiccup completes the class and gets the chance to kill a dragon in front of the entire village. Meanwhile, the battered Viking fleet arrives home.
Later, Astrid follows Hiccup, and is shocked to discover Toothless. She attempts to escape to tell the rest of the village, but Hiccup takes her for a ride on Toothless. At first, Astrid is terrified, but then begins to enjoy the excursion. However, Toothless unexpectedly joins a flock of dragons and takes the pair straight into the dragon's nest, where they discover the presence of a gigantic dragon named the Red Death. The Red Death depends on the food the other dragons bring back, and if the other dragons fail to capture anything, the Red Death feeds on the dragons themselves, which is the reason why the dragons have been looting Hiccup's village. Astrid wants to tell the village of the nest, but Hiccup wants to keep it a secret to protect Toothless, and Astrid reluctantly agrees. Before she heads back, she punches his arm for kidnapping her, and then kisses him on the cheek for "everything else".
Hiccup is put to his final exam the next day by fighting a Monstrous Nightmare, but when he tries to show the village the dragon's true nature, Stoick stops the fight, inadvertently angering the dragon and endangering Hiccup. Toothless hears Hiccup's scream and flies in to save him, but is captured himself. Hiccup, attempting to explain his actions, reveals how to find the dragons' nest. He tries to warn his father of the danger, but Stoick refuses to listen to his son, demotes Hiccup from being a Viking, disowns him, and leaves with another fleet, using a restrained Toothless as their guide. As Stoick leaves he is shown to be visibly shaken by what he has done. Hiccup then concocts a plan to save the Vikings.
The teens arrive on dragons, when the Viking fleet has already discovered the Red Death. Hiccup's classmates distract it while Hiccup attempts to free Toothless. Hiccup and Toothless almost drown, but both are saved by Stoick. Hiccup and Toothless succeed in luring the Red Death into flight, ultimately damaging its wings and then forcing it into an inescapable dive back to earth, killing it in a massive explosion. While attempting to flee from the crashing dragon, Hiccup falls and Toothless dives into the flames after him.
Stoick finds Toothless, who reveals an unconscious Hiccup safely wrapped in his wings. Hiccup wakes up back on Berk. As he leaves his bed, he discovers that his left foot has been amputated and replaced by a prosthetic one made by Gobber. His grief is turned to joy, however, as he steps outside to find the Vikings and dragons working together to rebuild their village. He is greeted by everyone, and Astrid rushes to kiss him. The film ends with the war between Vikings and Dragons finally over with Hiccup and his friends racing their dragons.
- Jay Baruchel as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. The sophisticated and brilliant teenage son of the Viking chief, Hiccup plans to become a Viking warrior. Unfortunately, in the crude world of the Vikings, Hiccup's slight build, rebellious determination, and sarcastic sense of humor make him a social outcast. His best friend and dragon is Toothless, a Night Fury.
- Gerard Butler as Stoick the Vast, the chieftain of the Viking tribe and Hiccup's father. Immensely strong, utterly fearless, and a fierce warrior, he embodies the traditional Viking virtues. He does not understand his child, having little in common with him, but eventually realizes that Hiccup is an impressively powerful and resourceful warrior in his own way.
- Craig Ferguson as Gobber the Belch, a close friend of Stoick's and the seasoned warrior appointed to drill the new recruits. He runs a blacksmith shop where Hiccup is his apprentice. Gobber believes in "learning on the job" and dispenses questionable advice. He also acts as the bridge between Hiccup and Stoick. He is missing his right foot and his left hand, the latter of which he has replaced with a variety of specialized prosthetics.
- America Ferrera as Astrid Hofferson. Striking, energetic and tough, Astrid is a teenage embodiment of the Viking way. Her competitive, determined personality makes her hard to impress.
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs Ingerman. Fishlegs normally acts nervous and frightened, but has an inexhaustible arsenal of facts and expresses his knowledge in role-playing game terms. He has memorized the manual of dragons, saying he has read it seven times.
- Jonah Hill as Snotlout Jorgenson, one of Hiccup's dragon-training classmates and Hiccup's cousin. Snotlout is brash, overconfident, and fairly unintelligent. He also has an interest in Astrid and makes several (unsuccessful) attempts to impress her.
- T. J. Miller and Kristen Wiig as Tuffnut and Ruffnut Thorston. The fraternal twins are thugs with ferocious intents and foul tempers, especially regarding each other.
- David Tennant as Spitelout. A Viking who is not named in the film, he appears to be Stoick's Second-in-Command and is also Snotlout's father. Tennant has previously narrated a series of Hiccup adventures on audio book.
- Robin Atkin Downes as Ack.
- Philip McGrade as Starkard.
- Kieron Elliott as Hoark the Haggard.
- Ashley Jensen as Phlegma the Fierce.
The book series by Cressida Cowell began coming to attention to the executives at Dreamworks Animation in 2004. Coming off her success to Over the Hedge, producer Bonnie Arnold shortly became interested in the newly acquired property. She kept focusing on the project as time went on, and when DreamWorks Animation co-president of production Bill Damaschke asked her what she wanted to work on next, she chose “How to Train Your Dragon”.
In initial development, the plot followed the original novel closely but was then altered. About halfway through production, Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, the writer-directors of Disney's Lilo & Stitch, took over as co-directors. The original plot was "heavily loyal to the book", but was regarded as geared to a too-young demographic and too "sweet" and "whimsical", according to Baruchel. In the novel, Hiccup's dragon, Toothless, is a Common-or-Garden Dragon, a breed that is equivalent in size of the Terrible Terror breed in the film. In the film, Toothless is a Night Fury, the rarest of all dragons, and is large enough to serve as a flying mount for both Hiccup and Astrid. Elements of Toothless's behavior were inspired by a domesticated mountain lion owned by Dean DeBlois's uncle. The filmmakers hired cinematographer Roger Deakins (known for frequently collaborating with the Coen brothers) as a visual consultant to help them with lighting and overall look of the film and to "add a live-action feel".
John Powell returned to DreamWorks Animation to score How to Train Your Dragon, making it his sixth collaboration with the studio, following his previous score for Kung Fu Panda (which he scored with Hans Zimmer). Powell composed a very orchestral score, combining bombastic brass with loud percussion and soothing strings, while also using exotic, Scottish and Irish tones with instruments like the penny whistle and bagpipes. Additionally, Icelandic singer Jónsi wrote and performed the song "Sticks & Stones" for the film. The score was released by Varèse Sarabande on March 23, 2010.
Overall, the score was very well received by film score critics. Powell earned his very first Academy Award nomination for his work on the film, ultimately losing to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for their score for The Social Network.
Competition for 3D screens
The film was released March 26, 2010. The month before, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg protested Warner Bros.' decision to convert Clash of the Titans from 2D to 3D, then to release it one week after How to Train Your Dragon. Entertainment reporter Kim Masters described the 3D release schedule around March 2010 as a "traffic jam", and speculated that the lack of 3D screen availability could hurt Katzenberg's prospects despite his support of the 3D format.
In March 2010, theater industry executives accused Paramount of using high-pressure tactics to coerce theaters to screen How to Train Your Dragon rather than the competing 3D releases, Clash of the Titans and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. As theater multiplexes often had just one 3D screen, theaters were unable to accommodate more than one 3D presentation at a time.
How to Train Your Dragon topped the North American box office with $43.7 million in its first weekend of release. The film grossed $217,581,231 in the United States and Canada and $277,297,528 in foreign countries with a worldwide total of $494,878,759.How to Train Your Dragon is Dreamworks Animation's highest-grossing film in the American and Canadian box office other than the Shrek films. It is the fifth highest-grossing animated film of 2010 with $494.8 million, behind Toy Story 3 with $1,063.2 million, Shrek Forever After with $752.6 million, Tangled with $576.6 million, and Despicable Me with $543.1 million and the 10th highest-grossing movie of 2010.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 98% based on 173 reviews from professional critics, with an overall rating average of 7.9 out of 10. The site's general consensus is that "Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragon soars." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 0–100 reviews from film critics, the film has a rating score of 74 based on 33 reviews.CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend revealed the average grade cinemagoers gave How to Train Your Dragon was A on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave it 3 stars out of 4, stating that: "It devotes a great deal of time to aerial battles between tamed dragons and evil ones, and not much to character or story development. But it's bright, good-looking, and has high energy". Claudia Puig of USA Today gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying "It's a thrilling action-adventure saga with exhilarating 3-D animation, a clever comedy with witty dialogue, a coming-of-age tale with surprising depth and a sweetly poignant tale of friendship between man and animal."Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers praised the film, giving it three out of four stars and in his print review wrote, "[The film] works enough miracles of 3-D animation to charm your socks off." Roger Moore of The Orlando Sentinel, who gave the film 2½ stars out of 4, wrote a mixed review describing the film as a "more coming-of-age dramedy or 'everything about your world view is wrong' message movie than it is a comedy. And that seems like a waste of a funny book, some very funny actors and some darned witty animation."Kyle Smith of The New York Post gave the film 2/4 stars labeling the film as "Avatar for simpletons. But that title is already taken, by Avatar".A. O. Scott of At The Movies felt the characters and the story were not strong points, but loved the cinematography and said, "that swooping and soaring, they are worth the price of a ticket, so go see it."Village Voice film critic Ella Taylor panned the film describing it as an "adequate but unremarkable animated tale". Film critic James Berardinelli of ReelViews praised the film and its story, giving it 3.5 out of 4 stars he wrote, "Technically proficient and featuring a witty, intelligent, surprisingly insightful script, How to Train Your Dragon comes close to the level of Pixar's recent output while easily exceeding the juvenilia Dreamworks has released in the last nine years."Entertainment Weekly film critic Owen Gleiberman praised the film giving it an A- and wrote, "How to Train Your Dragon rouses you in conventional ways, but it's also the rare animated film that uses 3-D for its breathtaking spatial and emotional possibilities."
How to Train Your Dragon was released on single-disc DVD, 2-disc Double DVD Pack and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in Canada and the United States on Friday, October 15, 2010. Among the features available in the 2-disc DVD edition is an original sequel short film, Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon. As of July 18, 2012, units sold for the DVD stand at more than 6.5 million copies and has grossed $121,663,692.
Samsung signed a deal with DreamWorks to gain exclusive distribution rights to a Blu-ray 3D version of the film. The exclusive agreement ended on September 11, 2011 when How to Train Your Dragon - 3D was released in a Two-Disc Blu-ray combo pack.
A sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, was confirmed on April 27, 2010. The film is being directed and written by Dean DeBlois, the co-director of the first film. Bonnie Arnold, the producer of the first film, is also returning, with Chris Sanders, who co-directed the first film, only exec-producing this time. The film is scheduled for release on June 20, 2014. It was announced that the entire original voice cast – Baruchel, Butler, Ferguson, Ferrera, Hill, Mintz-Plasse, Miller and Wiig – would return for the sequel.
A third film, How To Train Your Dragon 3 was confirmed for 2016, also being directed and written by DeBlois, produced by Bonnie Arnold, and exec-produced by Chris Sanders. All the main cast is set to return in the third film and it is scheduled to be released on June 18, 2016.
A television series based on the film premiered on Cartoon Network in Autumn 2012. Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and T. J. Miller reprise their roles as Hiccup, Astrid, Fishlegs and Tuffnut. The series follows Hiccup and his friends as they learn more about dragons, discover new ones, teach others to feel comfortable around them, adapt traditions within the village to fit their new friends and battle against enemies as they explore new worlds. Hiccup has been made head of Berk Dragon Academy.
An action adventure video game released by Activision called How to Train Your Dragon was released for the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo DS gaming consoles. It is loosely based on the film and was released on March 23, 2010.
A Broadway-style production named How To Train Your Dragon ON ICE is currently on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.
How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular is an arena show adaptation of the first film featuring 24 animatronic dragons, acrobats and projections. It premiered on March 2, 2012, in Melbourne, Australia.
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- Morgan, Clare (August 9, 2011). "Craft and heart breathe fiery life into dragons". Brisbane Times. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
- Official website
- How to Train Your Dragon at the Internet Movie Database
- How to Train Your Dragon at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- How to Train Your Dragon at AllRovi
- How to Train Your Dragon at Rotten Tomatoes
- How to Train Your Dragon at Metacritic
- How to Train Your Dragon at Box Office Mojo
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