How to Train Your Dragon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

How to Train Your Dragon Reviews

Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
December 8, 2014
It's a foolproof scheme for picture making: take the plot elements of favorite movies, paint the concoction with bright colors so it looks like the zazziest customized car, set it running at NASCAR speed, and you have How to Train Your Dragon.
Top Critic
Tom Horgen
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 19, 2013
What we have here is an exhilarating epic that mixes comedic and touching moments with some of the best action sequences ever created with CGI animation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
November 19, 2013
Toothless has the one precious ingredient that's missing from so many of Hollywood's contemporary animated characters: an air of mystery.
Top Critic
Bruce Diones
New Yorker
November 19, 2013
Smartly dispensing with the usual hubbub of pop references that dot many of these films, the movie offers touching, quiet moments and imaginative, high-flying beauty. It's fantastically entertaining.
Top Critic
Christine Champ
Film.com
May 6, 2011
It's a Harry Potter-meets-Avatar adventure that should delight most children and adults.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
April 4, 2011
Technically proficient and featuring a witty, intelligent, surprisingly insightful script, How to Train Your Dragon comes close to the level of Pixar's recent output while easily exceeding the juvenilia Dreamworks has released in the last nine years.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Huddleston
Time Out
April 1, 2010
The visuals are striking, the script sharp and well paced and it all wraps up with a breathtaking aerial battle sequence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
March 26, 2010
This dog can hunt. On the ground. Way-way up in the air. Swimming through clouds breathing fire. Imagine Old Yeller on a hundred pep pills.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
March 26, 2010
How to Train Your Dragon uses its whiz-bang technology to amplify feelings as well as dimension and scale. The big optical wow is only the half of it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
March 26, 2010
The 3-D throughout How to Train Your Dragon is perhaps the best match with animation yet -- exhilarating when it's supposed to be, yet integrated into the film rather than seemingly pasted on.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
March 26, 2010
One of the pleasures in this wise, emotionally bold PG ride is there's nary a wink, nudge or nod to popular culture.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
March 26, 2010
Tenderness, beauty and exhilaration are the movie's great strengths.
Top Critic
Nancy Churnin
Dallas Morning News
March 26, 2010
The film truly starts to soar when Hiccup takes his first ride on Toothless.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
March 26, 2010
What gives [this] story emotional heft has to do with a different kind of dimension: a depth of feeling surrounding the Black Stallion-style bonding of boy and beast.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Top Critic
Mike Clark
Washington Post
March 26, 2010
At a time when Hollywood seems to be releasing everything this side of Dead Sea Scrolls documentaries in 3-D, How to Train Your Dragon is a briskly paced computer-animated entertainment that uses the format to maximum effect, the way Avatar does.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
March 26, 2010
The one interesting aspect of the movie, apart from the design, is that it puts so much effort into projecting a moral, such as it is.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
March 26, 2010
With its messages about acceptance, respect and tolerance, How To Train Your Dragon also brings some lessons of its own, including some valuable tools for doing battle with dragons, should the need arise.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
March 26, 2010
It all adds up to a pleasant adventure, and one that doesn't insult parents or children. Lucky kids will find someone to take them this weekend. Even luckier adults will find someone to take.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
March 25, 2010
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
March 25, 2010
Though the dragons are cool in their various forms and the battle scenes are epic and exciting, watching two former foes become friends is what really makes the story fly.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
March 25, 2010
There are times the action lags, and when the dialogue falls back on pop cultural references it feels contrived and forced but, mostly, like the mythical creatures at the heart of this tale, the movie soars.
Top Critic
Tom Russo
Boston Globe
March 25, 2010
By Odin, they make it work.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 25, 2010
[It] The notion of having a pet dragon -- just like a pet whale, or a pet lion -- is a scenario that should appeal to children of all ages.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
March 25, 2010
Baruchel, Ferguson and Butler supply a contagious sense of eccentricity that spreads to the supporting cast, especially the Viking teens played by America Ferrera and Jonah Hill.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Keith Phipps
AV Club
March 25, 2010
How To Train Your Dragon retains a dash of the modern, winking attitude that's served as the not-always-welcome trademark of DreamWorks Animation, but its emphasis falls squarely on heartfelt storytelling and sumptuous images.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Cliff Doerksen
Chicago Reader
March 25, 2010
Codirectors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders understand more about visualizing the joy of flight than James Cameron ever will.
Top Critic
Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
March 25, 2010
Here, Viking life is grim, hostile and heavy with social pressure -- kind of like Gossip Girl, only with dragon heads instead of handbags.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
March 25, 2010
How to Train Your Dragon doesn't have the depth and resonance of a classic, but the picture's modesty is refreshing,and its artistry is awe-inspiring (the lighting and cinematography are particularly impressive).
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 25, 2010
In steering a course between the rock of rude humor and the hard place of perilous drama, How to Train Your Dragon flies high.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
March 25, 2010
The superb cinematographer Roger Deakins served as a visual consultant, pushing the palette to an unusually burnished and sophisticated level. Kids may not notice the visual texture consciously, but adults will. Or should.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
March 25, 2010
It devotes a great deal of time to aerial battles between tamed dragons and evil ones, and not much to character or story development. But it's bright, good-looking and has high energy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
Village Voice
March 24, 2010
Honestly, it would take several more dimensions to craft something special out of this adequate but unremarkable animated tale.
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
March 24, 2010
Directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, working from a script based on Cressida Cowell's books, should be credited for the way they develop the friendship between Hiccup and Toothless.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
March 24, 2010
Embedded among the standard platitudes of parental tolerance and teens finding their own way, is the notion that we should try to understand our 'enemies' instead of engaging them in perpetual, passed-through-generations warfare.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
March 23, 2010
With How to Train Your Dragon, the filmmakers tone down the glib factor and tell a pretty good action yarn, a boy-and-his-dragon story filled with fiery Viking battles, swordplay and dazzling aerial imagery aboard the flying reptiles.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
March 18, 2010
Kid stuff? Maybe. But How to Train Your Dragon, from the book by Cressida Cowell, works enough miracles of 3-D animation to charm your socks off.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
March 12, 2010
A lively though disjointed 3D cartoon that never quite entices an audience to invest emotionally in its fantasy world.
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
March 12, 2010
A thrilling drama interspersed with amusing comedic elements (rather than the other way around).
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
March 10, 2010
It has winningly Potteresque teen-dragon-slayer classes, a queen-bee dragon as grand as Godzilla, and a layer of age-of-terror allegory about the ignorance bred by jingoism.
Full Review | Original Score: A-