I enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon much more than I thought I would. Maybe not as much as most people (The script was quite predictable in one or two places); definitely not as much as my nephew, but still, I enjoyed it.
(Enjoyed the heck out of it, as a matter of fact.)
The reason why I didn't want to see it was because I didn't like the designs of the dragons as I'd seen them in ads. As you may know (from the name of this blog if from nothing else), dragons have long been my favorite mythological beastie.
As a result, I'm a bit snobbish about their depiction in films. Hundreds have tried but to my mind, maybe a handful has succeeded.
The dragon in Dragonslayer, that's my idea of a great cinema dragon. The movie wasn't so great last time I checked it out, but the dragon is awesome.
Literally. As in, it inspires awe. No one's topped it in live action for nearly 30 years.
Pete's Dragon is even more flawed as a picture, but the dragon is truly magical to the six-year-old boy I was when I saw it.
And from the 1977 TV-movie version of The Hobbit
Smaug. Now there's a dragon for ya.
Falkor in Neverending Story is exceptional; the dragon in Knighty Knight Bugs is great too.
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(Do not get me started on Reign of Fire, which was just stupid, or Dragonheart, which was fucked up by its director. And don't mention H.R. Pufnstuf to me or I'll simply have no choice but to bite your head off.)
The How to Train Your Dragon dragons looked to me like they were the "wrong" sizes and/or shapes. Silly me, I should've known: Wait until you get a good, long look at them animated.
A few of them still don't meet my ridiculously high standard, but the "star" dragon takes the movie and all but flies away with it. Watching the early "training" sequences in this movie, I was reminded of The Black Stallion, and if you've seen that movie, you know that's high praise indeed.
Directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders have created a dragon that can stand right alongside all the others in my little "box," and maybe above more than a few.