Yes, I finally got around to seeing this animated film which as it turns out, was one of the top-grossing movies of 2010. Hey, better late than never. I’ll post my opinions on it while it’s still fresh on my memory.
I must say, yes, it’s very impressive; I really enjoyed it. Mostly for the animation… seriously, this has to be the best-looking CGI movie I’ve seen since Pixar’s The Incredibles (HTTYD was done by their top rivals, Dreamworks.) The flying and action scenes were particularly impressive; but I also liked the designs for the dragons and the characters. Even the humans looked good, though still slightly cartoony, but that was done on purpose. Even the quiet scenes, like when looking at the sea from the village, were breathtaking.
The story, I didn’t like so much. It’s not bad, but it was very predictable: misfit boy befriends a strange creature, figures out they should befriend rather than fear it, keeps it a secret until found out, then a big climatic sequence convinces everyone else he was right. What makes it really enjoyable, in my opinion, is how well it is (voice) acted: the way the characters change as the movie goes on is convincing, and they are sufficiently emotionally intense when they have to be.
The story however has some weak logics that bother me: in 300 years nobody ever figured out some of the stuff Hiccups does in a few days from his new dragon? Like, what herbs have a catnip-like effect on them? How convenient for him. Oh and I’m sorry, but the very basic premise- how he tried to befriend a creature that for all he knew could have eaten him right away… is stupid. And after centuries of hating each other the vikings and the dragons just befriend each other overnight? Riiight.
Lastly, the movie could not decide whether it used real world physics or not: the Night Fury needed half its “rudder” to control its flight, yet, even the most colossal of dragons could fly by flapping its wings (hint: that would never work in the real world.) Now, it isn’t like I let such things worry me much in a fantasy film… it’s just that the whole “building a new rudder so the dragon can fly again” sequence sort of takes me out of the movie. Science had no place here.
The music was pretty good, too. It worked perfectly to punctuate the moments of the movie, thrilling or sedate. I didn’t care much for hiccup’s voice, he didn’t sound like a kid to me, but that’s minor. Oh, and having his love interest also be his rival was a pretty original twist. As was the fact that Hiccup does not survive the final fight unscathed. Now THAT I’ll bet nobody expected. In fact I don’t see the need for it. But there you go.
So in conclusion: I enjoyed HTTYD much better than I was expecting, and I think it stands out as the best-looking animated movie of the year, just as Megamind was the funniest and Toy Story 3 the most touching.