How to Train Your Dragon 2010

Critics score:
98 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: It's a foolproof scheme for picture making: take the plot elements of favorite movies, paint the concoction with bright colors so it looks like the zazziest customized car, set it running at NASCAR speed, and you have How to Train Your Dragon. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: Here, Viking life is grim, hostile and heavy with social pressure -- kind of like Gossip Girl, only with dragon heads instead of handbags. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: How to Train Your Dragon doesn't have the depth and resonance of a classic, but the picture's modesty is refreshing,and its artistry is awe-inspiring (the lighting and cinematography are particularly impressive). Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: Tenderness, beauty and exhilaration are the movie's great strengths. Read more

John Hartl, Seattle Times: Baruchel, Ferguson and Butler supply a contagious sense of eccentricity that spreads to the supporting cast, especially the Viking teens played by America Ferrera and Jonah Hill. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: How To Train Your Dragon retains a dash of the modern, winking attitude that's served as the not-always-welcome trademark of DreamWorks Animation, but its emphasis falls squarely on heartfelt storytelling and sumptuous images. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, working from a script based on Cressida Cowell's books, should be credited for the way they develop the friendship between Hiccup and Toothless. Read more

Tom Russo, Boston Globe: By Odin, they make it work. Read more

Cliff Doerksen, Chicago Reader: Codirectors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders understand more about visualizing the joy of flight than James Cameron ever will. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: The superb cinematographer Roger Deakins served as a visual consultant, pushing the palette to an unusually burnished and sophisticated level. Kids may not notice the visual texture consciously, but adults will. Or should. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: How to Train Your Dragon uses its whiz-bang technology to amplify feelings as well as dimension and scale. The big optical wow is only the half of it. Read more

Nancy Churnin, Dallas Morning News: The film truly starts to soar when Hiccup takes his first ride on Toothless. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: One of the pleasures in this wise, emotionally bold PG ride is there's nary a wink, nudge or nod to popular culture. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: The 3-D throughout How to Train Your Dragon is perhaps the best match with animation yet -- exhilarating when it's supposed to be, yet integrated into the film rather than seemingly pasted on. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: It has winningly Potteresque teen-dragon-slayer classes, a queen-bee dragon as grand as Godzilla, and a layer of age-of-terror allegory about the ignorance bred by jingoism. Read more

Christine Champ, It's a Harry Potter-meets-Avatar adventure that should delight most children and adults. Read more

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: There are times the action lags, and when the dialogue falls back on pop cultural references it feels contrived and forced but, mostly, like the mythical creatures at the heart of this tale, the movie soars. Read more

David Germain, Associated Press: With How to Train Your Dragon, the filmmakers tone down the glib factor and tell a pretty good action yarn, a boy-and-his-dragon story filled with fiery Viking battles, swordplay and dazzling aerial imagery aboard the flying reptiles. Read more

Bruce Diones, New Yorker: Smartly dispensing with the usual hubbub of pop references that dot many of these films, the movie offers touching, quiet moments and imaginative, high-flying beauty. It's fantastically entertaining. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: It all adds up to a pleasant adventure, and one that doesn't insult parents or children. Lucky kids will find someone to take them this weekend. Even luckier adults will find someone to take. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: What gives [this] story emotional heft has to do with a different kind of dimension: a depth of feeling surrounding the Black Stallion-style bonding of boy and beast. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Though the dragons are cool in their various forms and the battle scenes are epic and exciting, watching two former foes become friends is what really makes the story fly. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: The one interesting aspect of the movie, apart from the design, is that it puts so much effort into projecting a moral, such as it is. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: [It] The notion of having a pet dragon -- just like a pet whale, or a pet lion -- is a scenario that should appeal to children of all ages. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: 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. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: 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. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Kid stuff? Maybe. But How to Train Your Dragon, from the book by Cressida Cowell, works enough miracles of 3-D animation to charm your socks off. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Toothless has the one precious ingredient that's missing from so many of Hollywood's contemporary animated characters: an air of mystery. Read more

Tom Horgen, Minneapolis Star Tribune: What we have here is an exhilarating epic that mixes comedic and touching moments with some of the best action sequences ever created with CGI animation. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: In steering a course between the rock of rude humor and the hard place of perilous drama, How to Train Your Dragon flies high. Read more

Stephen Cole, Globe and Mail: This dog can hunt. On the ground. Way-way up in the air. Swimming through clouds breathing fire. Imagine Old Yeller on a hundred pep pills. Read more

Linda Barnard, Toronto Star: With its messages about acceptance, respect and tolerance, How To Train Your Dragon also brings some lessons of its own, including some valuable tools for doing battle with dragons, should the need arise. Read more

Tom Huddleston, Time Out: The visuals are striking, the script sharp and well paced and it all wraps up with a breathtaking aerial battle sequence. Read more

David Fear, Time Out: Embedded among the standard platitudes of parental tolerance and teens finding their own way, is the notion that we should try to understand our 'enemies' instead of engaging them in perpetual, passed-through-generations warfare. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: 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. Read more

Peter Debruge, Variety: A thrilling drama interspersed with amusing comedic elements (rather than the other way around). Read more

Ella Taylor, Village Voice: Honestly, it would take several more dimensions to craft something special out of this adequate but unremarkable animated tale. Read more

Mike Clark, Washington Post: At a time when Hollywood seems to be releasing everything this side of Dead Sea Scrolls documentaries in 3-D, How to Train Your Dragon is a briskly paced computer-animated entertainment that uses the format to maximum effect, the way Avatar does. Read more