How to Train Your Dragon | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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How to Train Your Dragon

Entertaining animated tale of a boy and his pet dragon

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The narrative doesn't break any new ground: A nerdy outcast boy named Hiccup (voice of Jay Baruchel), in an ancient Viking town bedeviled by dragons, secretly befriends his counterpart in dragon form. (An alternate title could be The Dragon Whisperer.) The bond leads to personal growth for both parties, and better inter-species understanding that makes the future brighter for Viking and dragon alike. Yet despite some familiar tropes, Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' animated family film, adapted from Cressida Cowell's book, is an enjoyable excursion: It's humorous without being snarky, keeps subplots to a minimum, and delivers its lessons without being too preachy. Fans of kiddie fantasy fiction (and Harry Potter) should enjoy the variety of dragons (and the training thereof), as well as the many gorgeous flying sequences. While lively, Dragon does manage a few moments of understated poignancy: Hiccup's taming of the dragon is handled with more gentleness than you'd expect. After this film, every kid will want a pet dragon. In 3-D in select theaters. Starts Fri., March 26.

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