Sunday, 14 November 2010
Not Quite Time to Slay the Dreamworks Dragon
First off lets get this straight. I’m not a fan of Dreamworks CG Animated films. Mostly I avoid them like the plague. I tried to watch Monsters vs. Aliens recently and got bored after only twenty minutes. Also I never understood the love out there for the Shrek films. I thought the first was massively overrated so kept well away from the sequels. Up until now I’ve only seen one Dreamworks effort I like and that’s Over the Hedge.
But due to strong word of mouth and a good reception from those I know and trust I rather reluctantly sat down this morning and watched Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon.
It was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This is by far the best Dreamworks CG animated film I’ve seen to date. And for three good reasons:
1) The story is strong and home to great characters and meaningful and weighty themes such as friendship, compassion, understanding, family bonding.
2) The tone is relatively serious. The film plays out as a big scale fantasy adventure that thankfully doesn't pander to the kids or resort to crap pop culture jokes ala most Dreamworks efforts.
3) It looks gorgeous. The character animation is good but it's the environments that really stand out. The flight sequences and the end battle are thrilling and really rather wonderful to behold with more than a couple of 'screensaver' images produced. Makes me wish I’d seen it on the big screen in 3D.
It’s certainly no Toy Story 3 (or Up, Wall-e, The Incredibles or any other Pixar film) but How to Train Your Dragon marks a strong entry for Dreamworks in the field of CG animation, one I’d be more than happy to watch again and again over the years. Just don’t ruin it with loads of shabby sequels.
So colour me impressed and chalk this one up as a big win for Dreamworks. I just wish they'd take this much care and effort with the rest of their CG animation.