'How To Train Your Dragon'
(Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, et al / PG / 84 mins / Dreamworks)
Overview: The son of a Viking chief must capture a dragon in order to mark his passage into manhood and prove his worthiness to the tribe in directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois' adaptation of Cressida Cowell's popular children's book. Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse provide voices for the DreamWorks Animation production.
Verdict: Who would have thought a fire-breathing monster could be one of the most adorable on-screen critters since Babe?
But Toothless, the endearing dragon, possesses the best qualities of a playful pet dog or cat and the sense of adventure of a winged horse. Watching him in action, it's easy to forget he's not exactly cuddly.
How to Train Your Dragon fires on all cylinders. It's a thrilling action-adventure saga with exhilarating 3-D animation, a clever comedy with witty dialogue, a coming-of-age tale with surprising depth and a sweetly poignant tale of friendship between man and animal.
It's unclear why the filmmakers chose to give the Vikings Scottish accents, fusing Norse and Celtic mythology. But why quibble with funny and likable characters voiced by Craig Ferguson and Butler? Their Scottish burrs make the banter all the more amusing.