Tag Archives: how to train your dragon
Directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck
Written by Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, and Shane Morris
When I reviewed How To Train Your Dragon, I drew a line in some imaginary sand separating it from the cynically produced schlock that gets dumped on the kid demographic these days. As much as I love that movie though, I have to admit that it only seems so great because everything else is so bad. For a long time, CG movies were too annoying to even endure, Pixar’s output aside. But now Pixar sucks too. Go ahead, admit it. They haven’t made a great movie since Wall-E, and everything since has been worse than what came before it—Monsters University in particular is downright abysmal.
Strangely enough, as Pixar has declined, Disney Animation has experienced a resurgence. Bolt was way better than anyone expected, and, for the most part, Tangled feels about as effortless as any Disney 90’s hit did. Wreck-It Ralph was terrible, and The Princess and the Frog was a bit too paint-by-numbers, but whatever—all upward trends have their occasional dips. Now we have Frozen, which, despite its stupid title, is without a doubt the peak of this new renaissance. I have a feeling this all has something to do with Pixar legend John Lasseter’s appointment as Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios following Disney’s buyout of Pixar in 2006, but I’ll leave that speculation for someone more informed and just get back to Frozen.
You know that moment in Ratatouille when a single bite of Remy’s “peasant dish” confit byaldi delivers an almost spiritually transformative experience to the soul-dead critic Anton Ego? That happened to me when I first watched How To Train Your Dragon. I’m a perpetually grumpy 24-year-old undergraduate STEM major, and it takes a pretty special movie to penetrate the cold stone that encapsulates my heart, so I was quite surprised when this one, quite effortlessly, did just that. So, you’ll have to forgive me if, over the course of this review, my arguments devolve into fanboyish ranting. I ain’t saying HTTYD is the best thing since The Lion King, but it is the best animated kids’ movie made in the U.S. since at least Wall-E, and is easily one of the best computer animated movies of all time.