Critics Consensus: How to Train Your Dragon Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Hot Tub Time Machine is a raunchy good time.

This week at the movies, we've got aerial adventure (How to Train Your Dragon, starring Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson) and an '80s flashback (Hot Tub Time Machine, starring John Cusack and Rob Corddry). What do the critics have to say?
98%
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Fresh

How to Train Your Dragon

In the world of CGI animation, DreamWorks has long played second fiddle to Pixar. However, critics say that if How to Train Your Dragon is any indication, the gap between the studios may be narrowing. Dragon tells the tale of Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), a scrawny Viking who wants to kill dragons, just like his old man (Gerard Butler). However, after a chance encounter with a friendly dragon, he begins to rethink past prejudices -- while soaring above the clouds on the monster's back. The pundits say the Certified Fresh How to Train Your Dragon's visuals are awe-inspiring, utilizing the 3-D effects to the fullest -- and if the plot's not quite as strong, the voice cast is game and the script is mercifully free of vulgarity. (Speaking of vulgarity, check out Dragon star Craig Fergusen's Five Favorite Films here.)


63%
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Fresh

Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub Time Machine boasts one of the funniest titles in recent memory. And critics say the movie's pretty good, too -- it's a throwback to 1980s raunch-fests that's elevated by an excellent cast. John Cusack stars as a recently-dumped guy who joins his friends for some wild debauchery at a ski resort. The next morning, the gang wakes up in 1986 -- how's that for a hangover? -- and tries to save their future selves from misery. The pundits say Hot Tub Time Machine is indifferently crafted and occasionally overdoses on kitschy 1980s references -- but it's also audaciously funny much of the time, thanks to strong performances and a go-for-broke sense of energy. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we run down some of our favorite cinematic time machines.)


Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Bluebeard, Catherine Breillat's take on the classic serial-killer tale, is at 100 percent.
  • Waking Sleeping Beauty, a documentary about Disney's late-1980s and early-1990s animation renaissance, is at 91 percent.
  • The Eclipse, an Italian comedy about a middle-aged man tasked with entertaining his grandmother and her feisty friends, is at 86 percent.
  • Chloe, starring Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson in an erotic thriller about a young woman who is enlisted to test a straying husband, is at 49 percent.

Comments

Dave J

Dave J

I would pay to see "How to train your Dragon " if I had kids to take to so I'll wait until i come across this film down the line.

The one I'm going that's going on my 'must- see list' has got to be the Freench film "Bluebeard"!!!!!

Mar 25 - 04:46 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

I will definitely have to see Dragon. Though maybe not in 3D. One, because that costs more money I don't have. Two, because I've read in various reviews that it's not really better with the extra dimension. And I'm glad that Dreamworks has been coming out with some good stuff. Though it's sad to see them hit the highs of Kung Fu Panda one year then sink to Shrek 18 the next.

I had my doubts about Hot Tub. At first I thought it was just going to be really dumb. But it started to grow on me. And people have been positively comparing it to The Hangover, which I loved. So it seems I will have to get around to watching it.

Whichever movie I see, it's nice to be excited about something. It's been boring since Alice came out.

Mar 25 - 04:59 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Dragon grew on me within weeks, and even more with the positive reviews. At first I wasn't interested because it was co-directed Chris Sanders of Lilo and Stitch, and I hated that movie; Stich and the aliens were great but the human characters and plot not so much. Heck, even Toothless's face somewhat resembles Stitch.

Mar 25 - 05:36 PM

BlueLobster

Aaron Dean

Actually, what you just said right there has convinced me to see How to Train Your Dragon. Lilo and Stitch is one of my favorite disney films.

Mar 25 - 06:31 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Good for you. I know a lot of people here in the website love Lilo and Stitch but some don't know about the director, he was fired from Disney for constantly changing the plot for American Dog, which became Bolt, then went to Dreamworks. Like I said, Toothless even resembles Stitch, arguably the best Disney character of the 00's.

Some might tell me why you love the character but not the movie? Well, there are movies out there where I enjoy the characters but hate the story, aka the character is the only reason the movie is worth watching, ie. Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes.

Mar 25 - 07:18 PM

J P.

J Palmer

I agree totally! I thought I was the only one thinking that Toothless looks a bit like Stitch! But overall, excellent excellent film!

Aug 6 - 12:32 AM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

Matt S. I think you are getting a little ahead of yourself.... I mean Toy Story 3 hasn't even come out yet...

I will say I'm very surprised at the overwhelmingly positive response for How to Train Your Dragon has been getting. I mean this is the highest rated wide release movie of the year, first one to be in the 90's for 2010. I do remember seeing the trailer and not being impressed by it.

Still this is a family film... not my demographic, so I'm not going see it. I'm much more excited over Toy Story 3. I saw both of the first two movies when they first came out and they really delighted me as a child. I'm almost certainly going to enjoy the 3rd movie when it comes out in June and really Pixar still has the pedigree in terms of quality CGI movies (although I agree Pixar has been dominated Best animated feature for way too long). But yeah I'm skipping Dragon because I would almost certainly enjoy Toy Story 3 if only for nostalgia. That the plot of Dragon isn't really getting accolades doesn't help in my opinion either, (although that its getting accolades for everything else is nice). Dragon will almost certainly win the box office this weekend, not sure if it will open bigger than Alice's first weekend but its possible with all the 3-D stuff giving more money.

I really thought that Hot Tub Time Machine would be trash, I mean the title and commercials make it seem that way to me. Being compared to Hangover is good. Although it rating isn't as good as Hangover. I remember seeing Hangover and thinking of how stupid the entire movie was. I guess I prefer comedies that are more intellectual. Still I hope it does decently, maybe beat Alice for 2nd place this weekend.

Mar 25 - 06:00 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

"Still this is a family film... not my demographic, so I'm not going see it. I'm much more excited over Toy Story 3."
So you won't see Dragon because it's a family movie but you'll see Toy Story 3, which is also a family movie?

"But yeah I'm skipping Dragon because I would almost certainly enjoy Toy Story 3 if only for nostalgia."
So you won't see one movie because you would enjoy another?

Mar 25 - 08:57 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

That's stupid. I'm an adult and I still go to see "family" movies if they appeal to me. Plus, I don't have any kids. I'm not embarrassed.

Mar 26 - 10:20 AM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

ATaylor, the main reason why I want to see Toy Story 3 is because I saw the first two when I was a child (basically for nostalgia) not to mention the fact that Pixar is the Gold standard when it comes to CGI. Also the plot (or what little I know of it) seems interesting considering that the child Andy is now a adult going to college and not really needing plush toys or action figurines anymore. Seems really interesting. Also I really enjoyed the plot of the previous two movies

The plot of HTTYD seems very formulaic: a weak young lad gets the strength to be a hero, don't judge by appearences (i.e Dragons are not all evil) and yadda yadda. Not to say that Dragon is a bad movie, on the contrary the current RT score is of Pixar quality, but really if I'm going to see a G rated movie it has to be really good in terms of plot (because as I said a single young man like myself is NOT the main demographic for these types of movies, parents with young children ARE!)

I hope you enjoyed the movie ARTaylor, but I feel that you will enjoy Toy Story 3 even more.

Mar 27 - 06:01 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

Why didn't you say that before? It would have made more sense.

Mar 28 - 10:04 AM

The Stunner

Tiago Paulo

the trailer for that dragon thingy thoroughly sucks.

Mar 25 - 06:10 PM

Matt Alex S.

Matias Sabaj

I went to see Dragon in 3D...what can I say? just...SPECTACULAR!
state-of-the-art CGI,good jokes,emotional depth,thrilling action,and the dragon Toothless was really sweet. it really worth the ticket price :)
Be afraid Pixar,be veeeery afraid :P
I can see Dragon as a front-runner for the nexts Academy Awards in the animated category.
If you got the chance to see it,go without doubt it ;)

Mar 25 - 06:19 PM

BlueLobster

Aaron Dean

Actually, what you just said right there has convinced me to see How to Train Your Dragon. Lilo and Stitch is one of my favorite disney films.

Mar 25 - 06:31 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Good for you. I know a lot of people here in the website love Lilo and Stitch but some don't know about the director, he was fired from Disney for constantly changing the plot for American Dog, which became Bolt, then went to Dreamworks. Like I said, Toothless even resembles Stitch, arguably the best Disney character of the 00's.

Some might tell me why you love the character but not the movie? Well, there are movies out there where I enjoy the characters but hate the story, aka the character is the only reason the movie is worth watching, ie. Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes.

Mar 25 - 07:18 PM

Superzone

Link O'Fett

I'm surprised, very surprised, by Dragon's 95% t-meter. I'm definitely going to go see this now. Looks like Toy Story 3 might have some serious competition during awards season next year..........

Mar 25 - 06:37 PM

The NewHampshire Database

Kirk McCarty

ARTaylor...so you have enough money for a movie, but you don't have an extra $3-5 for the 3D version? Lie less, please.

Mar 25 - 07:02 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

Idiot...I have money for a movie but not to go all out on the expenses. See, in tough times you don't stop spending money entirely, you just become more conservative with it. To use an analogy (that's where they compare things), I have money for gas but not for premium at Chevron. Think more, please.

Mar 25 - 08:49 PM

Matt Alex S.

Matias Sabaj

yeah,I know Toy Story 3 hasn't even come out yet,and I'm waiting for it.
what I mean is that Dragon is great on their own,and comparing it with the most recent Pixar's releases (Ratatouille,WALL-E,Up). If Dreamworks start making more like this,maybe Pixar should be a little worried (ok,maybe "veeery afraid" was a little exageration :P ).
now, changing the subject, why the posts are not in order? o.O

Mar 25 - 07:07 PM

Alex L.

Alex Lavoie

Perhaps the 2 only movies worth seeing in cinema with shutter island so far this year. At least. It was time.

Mar 25 - 07:12 PM

Nexus 6

Dyun1 dyun1

I think most movies should be seen in a theater, regardless.

Mar 26 - 10:08 AM

Thelastholdout

Douglas Wake

Well great, Dreamworks has a film in the 90 percent range. Now if they could just make a film with a complete-from-scratch story (like, oh, every one of Pixar's films) that reaches the same level, then I'll really be impressed.

Mar 25 - 07:13 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Um.. aren't Kung Fu Panda and Spirit made from scratch stories?

Mar 25 - 07:20 PM

Jpeffer

Jake Peffer

Hot Tub Time Machine was actually really funny. Saw an advance screening about a month ago and I thought it was hilarious.

Mar 25 - 07:17 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Good for you. I know a lot of people here in the website love Lilo and Stitch but some don't know about the director, he was fired from Disney for constantly changing the plot for American Dog, which became Bolt, then went to Dreamworks. Like I said, Toothless even resembles Stitch, arguably the best Disney character of the 00's.

Some might tell me why you love the character but not the movie? Well, there are movies out there where I enjoy the characters but hate the story, aka the character is the only reason the movie is worth watching, ie. Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes.

Mar 25 - 07:18 PM

Danetto

Dan Nikolaevskij

chloe so bad? i wouldnt have thought that...
maybe the original is just better

Mar 25 - 07:20 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Um.. aren't Kung Fu Panda and Spirit made from scratch stories?

Mar 25 - 07:20 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Glad to see some decent movies are coming out at the cinema!

Mar 25 - 07:41 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

Idiot...I have money for a movie but not to go all out on the expenses. See, in tough times you don't stop spending money entirely, you just become more conservative with it. To use an analogy (that's where they compare things), I have money for gas but not for premium at Chevron. Think more, please.

Mar 25 - 08:49 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

Wow. Didn't expect Dragon to do so well. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was one of my favorite films of 2009 so I'll definitely have to check out Dragon. I don't think anyone is coming close to Pixar quality just yet but nice to know a few people are trying.

Mar 25 - 08:50 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

"Still this is a family film... not my demographic, so I'm not going see it. I'm much more excited over Toy Story 3."
So you won't see Dragon because it's a family movie but you'll see Toy Story 3, which is also a family movie?

"But yeah I'm skipping Dragon because I would almost certainly enjoy Toy Story 3 if only for nostalgia."
So you won't see one movie because you would enjoy another?

Mar 25 - 08:57 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

That's stupid. I'm an adult and I still go to see "family" movies if they appeal to me. Plus, I don't have any kids. I'm not embarrassed.

Mar 26 - 10:20 AM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

ATaylor, the main reason why I want to see Toy Story 3 is because I saw the first two when I was a child (basically for nostalgia) not to mention the fact that Pixar is the Gold standard when it comes to CGI. Also the plot (or what little I know of it) seems interesting considering that the child Andy is now a adult going to college and not really needing plush toys or action figurines anymore. Seems really interesting. Also I really enjoyed the plot of the previous two movies

The plot of HTTYD seems very formulaic: a weak young lad gets the strength to be a hero, don't judge by appearences (i.e Dragons are not all evil) and yadda yadda. Not to say that Dragon is a bad movie, on the contrary the current RT score is of Pixar quality, but really if I'm going to see a G rated movie it has to be really good in terms of plot (because as I said a single young man like myself is NOT the main demographic for these types of movies, parents with young children ARE!)

I hope you enjoyed the movie ARTaylor, but I feel that you will enjoy Toy Story 3 even more.

Mar 27 - 06:01 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

Why didn't you say that before? It would have made more sense.

Mar 28 - 10:04 AM

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