(G) US. Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill
The 3D bandwagon keeps rolling with this smart, muscular, animated adventure. On a remote North Atlantic island, the Viking population is suffering harassment from swarms of marauding dragons, until geeky son-of-a-chief Hiccup finds an injured dragon in the woods and suspects this constant state of warfare may be unnecessary.
Rejecting the comic whimsy of Cressida Cowell’s source novel, How to Train Your Dragon is a surprisingly robust affair, backing its juggernaut narrative with a well-judged and timely political subtext that urges young viewers to question received wisdom and make up their own minds, especially when it comes to matters of life and death. The voices can be jarring – the burly adult Vikings are all Scots, while their offspring are whiny Yanks – and the characterisation remains disappointingly old fashioned and unoriginal. But the visuals are striking, the script sharp and well paced and it all wraps up with a breathtaking aerial battle sequence.