The scene that will make you realize how far Dreamworks has come in the character area is when Hiccup and Toothless begin to form a friendship. There wasn’t a person in the house not giggling or sitting there with a silly grin on their face, wanting both Hiccup and Toothless to become fast friends.
At that’s the most important spot in the movie, because it’s there that you begin to forget you’re watching an animated movie. At animation’s best it pulls you in through character and swiftly takes you to an unbelievably believable world while slowly washing away the fact that you’re watching animation and not real people. Though not quite on the level of an Up, Dreamworks has managed to catch a little spark here. So much so, that I’m fairly excited if they find a way to fan the spark into an even stronger film.
Lastly, the story is not only strong, concise and moves along at a really good pace, it does a good job of getting to the point without rushing. There are no wasted scenes, no time when you wonder why that was shown when it never had a payoff. We meet the village through a bit of narration, get a back story quickly, get thrust into the Viking vs. Dragons world and before you know it, you’re familiar (and most importantly comfortable) with the story and where it’s going.
How To Train Your Dragon had a lot more hits in it than misses and leaves the audience not only wanting a dragon of their own, but feeling good about the time they spent learning about them. It’s most definitely a stand out in the Dreamworks library.