History portrays Vikings as huge, muscled and fearless. In How to Train Your Dragons, village chief Stoick the Vast is just such a man, leading his warriors into battle against the evil dragons that plague his realm. His son Hiccup is the exact opposite: weedy, nervy and more interested in inventing than killing.
But when one of his inventions works, and brings down a Night Fury dragon, Hiccup's life is turned around, He discovers a new side to dragons, and soon becomes the best student in his dragon training class.
Dreamworks has had a couple of flops of late - Bee Movie, Monsters vs Aliens - but How To ... proves they are back and mean business. Every element of this film is near-perfection: from the vast range of character traits (disappointed father, fiercely independent love interest, jock, old sea dog) and the incredible details in the animation (every hair on the Vikings' burly arms can be seen), to the beautiful flying scenes, dry humour-packed script and unexpected ending.
Even if you're tired of the recent slew of 3D movies, this is worth donning daft glasses for, especially for the gorgeous shots of soaring dragons. The landscape, too, comes to life in 3D, rather like the mountains in Avatar. The two films also share a theme of love for nature. But unlike that marathon snoozefest, you won't want How To ... to end. Don't miss it.
YP rating: 5/5