I'm sure many of you are of the same mind as me that Dreamworks Animation pales in comparison to the daddy of animation studios, Pixar. What Pixar does so well in terms of character development, legitimately funny gags (without relying on tired slapstick) and an actual good story (whether animated or not), Dreamworks Animation seems unable to emulate (sometimes they appear to not even try), and instead we get a flurry of un-funny pop culture references (a la Shrek the Third).
The latest from Dreamworks Animation is the admittedly fun-looking How to Train Your Dragon, which features the voice acting talents of Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder), Gerard Butler ("that bloke from 300," as Ricky Gervais said at the Golden Globes the other night :P ) and America Farrera (Ugly Betty), amongst others. Of course I my opinion that this film looks fun isn't too popular, as many of you have said it looks like more of the same from Dreamworks.
Well, that may be what the promos suggest, but according to Harry Knowles over at AICN, the film is as good as Kung Fu Panda, the only truly great animated film Dreamworks has put out in YEARS. Although Harry saw an early version with unfinished/unofficial music and animation accompanying the moving images, he still said it was, "every bit as emotional, thrilling and fun as Kung Fu Panda."
Harry also called it, "a fascinating coming of age adventure fantasy story that could be a bit intense for the most delicate of youngsters, but for most will be a joy to behold." He praised the different types of dragons that can be found in the film, "each with their own particular eccentricities." And he was particularly impressed by one of the supporting characters, a blacksmith and former dragon killer called Gobber, voiced by my fellow Scotsman and late night talk show host, Craig Ferguson.
Overall Harry's review of How To Train Your Dragon was pretty glowing in spite of his reservations before seeing it. The last word he has on it is that, "this is a wonderful fantasy that kids can enjoy, despite the fact that adults will have even more fun with it. In that respect, it did remind me of Kung Fu Panda."
You can read the rest of Harry's early review of How to Train Your Dragon HERE.
I can't really say I'm marking my calendar in anticipation for this movie, but nonetheless I'll see it when it comes out and by the sounds of it I'm going to have a good time. I love it when an animated movie is fun for the whole family, but still not lacking in laughs, good characters and a well thought out story. Hopefully that will actually turn out to be the case with this.
How to Train You Dragon hits theaters on March 26th, 2010.