How to Train Your Dragon
Might contain spoilers.
It’s just as wonderful as I remember, if not more. Jay Baruchel was easier to stomach this time, perhaps because I’m accustomed to hearing his voice come from Hiccup now. I think Toothless might just be the cutest, most heartmeltingly charming and lovable creature ever put on screen: the success of the movie is entirely thanks to how instantly endearing he is.
The score is as lovely as ever. Having listened to it in full at some point after my last viewing, I was now struck by the clever use of the leitmotif for Hiccup and Toothless in different contexts.
The voices aren’t the stars of the show, but Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson deserve a special mention for their performances as Stoic and Gobber. The character designs are very well done, like the triangular Stoic.
I found Astrid a bit empty. She starts by not caring about Hiccup, progresses to being so jealous she can’t stand him, and ends by falling in love with him. Of the three, only the middle phase is truly merited. Once she falls in love with him, her character, such as it is, fades so she can be a prop for his story. The rest of the kids all get just the right amount of time to define their characters and play their roles.
It’s very hard to watch the dragons being harmed in any way at any point. I don’t understand how the Vikings can so easily live in harmony with them in the end, but this is a movie, after all.
I remember thinking, when I watched it in 2010, that the animation is a little less impressive than in its Disney and Pixar contemporaries. When I watch it now, in contrast, all I notice is that the visuals adequately allow the movie tell its story.