Monday, April 12, 2010

Training the dragon


I think it's a shame that the 3-D malaise/controversy over the alleged crappiness of the Clash of the Titans 3-D conversion came when it did.

Because it came immediately after the release of How to Train Your Dragon, which is a really cute, fun family movie that has well-executed and excitingly use 3-D. I think it could be used as a textbook example of what should be done with 3-D.

First of all, while I only saw it in 3-D, I can't imagine how it could be a disappointment in 2-D. It's a charming story with plenty of nice moments and fun characters.

Secondly, the 3-D looks really good. There's a pre-dawn sequence in the fog that is just amazing and completely captures everything a person could hope for from a movie like this... wonder.

My only complaints come down to nitpicks, but I'll offer them. The mid-section drags. I'm not sure if it needed to be cut down further or if there was more material that was cut that could have eased some transitions, but the pacing is awkward somehow. My guess is that it's another victim of "cut to much" syndrome in movies, where if just a bit more were left in, it would have been a little more involving.

I also thought Jay Baruchel, who voiced Hiccup, our hero in the story, too often went for self-consciously cartoony in his performance. I think a little less would have sold the character a tad better.

But in essence, it's a really fun ride, and unlike so many modern cartoons - like the goddamn Shrek movies! - it's not bogged down by snarky, "clever" modern references. And I rather enjoyed the small number there were, such as the character Fishlegs who gives Dungeons & Dragons styled statistics on various types of dragons.

There's a quote early in the movie, and I can't find it online to confirm, but it's something like, "We're vikings, stubbornness is what we do." As a descendent of the vikings, I found that sentiment particularly apt, and the movie would have had a hard time losing me from there.

As a bonus, I also got to see the Toy Story 3 and Tron: Legacy trailers in 3-D, both of which were sweet! With those coming out this year, following How to Train Your Dragon, I think the recent calls of 3-D's imminent death may have been entirely premature.

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