Of the past decade, the major animation studios have been constantly trying to "one-up" each other when it comes to releasing major CGI animated pictures. Obviously Pixar started the ball rolling with its ground-breaking movie Toy Story but it not long after that, DreamWorks got into the CG animation ring and threw a knockout punch with Shrek. Next on the DreamWorks agenda? How to Train Your Dragon in 3D.
Based on the book by the same name written by Cressida Cowell, the story follows the adventures of Hiccup the Viking boy who would be king and his quest to pass a rite of passage. To succeed he must find the fiercest dragon in all the land and bring it under his submission, kind of like breaking in a horse for a cowboy, I suppose. The first teaser for How to Train Your Dragon has hit YouTube but it's a low quality version which doesn't do a lot to get me excited. Here it is anyway
How to Train Your Dragon is directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, who directed Lilo & Stitch and stars the voices of Jay Baruchel (The Sorcerer's Apprentice), Gerard Butler (Gamer), Jonah Hill (Superbad), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass), Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show), Kristen Wiig (Extract), and America Ferrera (Ugly Betty).
I don't want to say DreamWorks copies Pixar - the stories they tell are vastly different and the animation looks completely different - but how long will DreamWorks hover in the animation shadow of Pixar? It's hard to tell. If Pixar keeps putting out movies like UP, then it's going to be a long, long time. DreamWorks does have a nice array of CGI movies to offer, though, and they have proven to be very popular. All three Shrek movies made fists full of cash, Kung Fu Panda looks to join in on the trilogy action with a second film slated for 2011 (which has the best title ever: The Kaboom of Doom) and we can't forget Madagascar, Bee Movie and the recent mega-hit Monsters vs. Aliens.
I would say DreamWorks is on the right path to contend with Pixar for best Animation studio, but I'll need to see more than low quality teaser to know how their latest offering is stacking up.
What do you think about DreamWorks and How to Train Your Dragon? The film flies into theaters (in 3D) on March 26th, 2010.