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How to Train Your Dragon Review

Movies.com Critics

4.5

Dave White Profile

Worth the uncomfortable 3D glasses. Read full review

4.5

Jen Yamato Profile

Dragons = They're a Viking's best friend. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    74

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    A 3D movie that will intrigue kids and adults alike but might play raggedly in both camps.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Who would have thought a fire-breathing monster could be one of the most adorable on-screen critters since Babe?

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Seeing "Dragon" in 3-D really is a must. Its formidable realm of Vikings and dragons and nerds (oh my!) should be enjoyed to the fullest extent theaters allow.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Rouses you in conventional ways, but it's also the rare animated film that uses 3-D for its breathtaking spatial and emotional possibilities.

    Read Full Review

  • See all How to Train Your Dragon reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 7+

Thrilling 3-D adventure sends brains-over-brawn message.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this excellent adventure comedy about a clever young Viking includes some fantasy violence and potentially frightening images of dragons which could scare some young movie-goers. The dragons attack the Viking village, causing mass destruction, and in a couple of cases, they cripple characters. There's some mild flirting and two brief kisses between teens, and one bittersweet discussion about a deceased mother (and her armored breast plate, which has been fashioned into two helmets). Because the 3-D effects up the intensity level of the action sequences, easily scared older kids may jump out of their seat in the dragon-fighting scenes. On a positive note, with a strong female character and an honorable, brainy protagonist, kids will learn the value of cooperation, teamwork, and seeing beyond the surface of a situation.

  • Families can talk about what makes Hiccup a misfit. How does having Stoic the Vast for a father make him feel about himself? How is the relationship between Hiccup and his dad portrayed? What changes in their relationship throughout the movie?
  • Astrid looks like a "blond bombshell" type, but she's not the typical pretty blond girl. In what ways does her character rise above stereotypes of unattainable beauty? Is she a good role model for girls?
  • What did you think of the use of 3-D in the movie, especially in the dragon scenes? How did it compare to other 3-D movies? Was anything too scary?
  • Every hero on a journey has some help. Who helps Hiccup? Does he have any mentors or teachers? What about his friends?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: Kids will learn a bit about Vikings and mythology.

  • message true1

    Messages: Hiccup's actions prove that cooperation and teamwork can be better than competition and animosity. By looking past the superficial, Hiccup discovered that the dragons weren't the blind, ruthless killers his people thought they were, and that training a dragon had far more benefits than killing a dragon. Another important message is that the love between a parent and child is unconditional and not based on whether the child is following in the parent's footsteps. There's also the message that girls and women (the Vikings are surprisingly pro-girl-power) can be tough and fearless too, and that brains can be just as powerful as brawn.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Hiccup may not look as tough as other Vikings his age, but he's smart and courageous and caring. His eventual popularity and his sacrifice to save his fellow Vikings demonstrate that just because someone looks like a "wimp" doesn't mean much. Astrid is a positive role model for girls. Yes, she's beautiful, but it's not her looks that make her notable. She's tough, hard-working, fearless, and loyal.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: Some of the dragons -- particularly in the opening and climactic sequences, along with the dragon training scenes -- are scary looking and cause a lot of destruction. The dragons have burned down homes, killed random characters and maimed a couple of central characters. The huge "queen dragon" is big and imposing and is just as likely to swallow a smaller dragon as she is to crush humans in her way.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Mild flirting and two brief kisses between Astrid and Hiccup.

  • language false0

    Language: Exclamations like "Thor almighty!" and "By Odin it was rough" that substitute the word God for the names of Norse gods. Some mild taunts and insults like "coward" and "useless" and one joke about a "breast hat" (a Viking hat formed from a breast plate). One use of "hell."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Expect lots of branded merchandise to accompany this movie.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable

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