Animated films aren’t normally my bag. But this one from DreamWorks about a town of Vikings plagued by dragons has gotten such amazing reviews I figured I should check it out on DVD.
Jay Baruchel voices a young boy who wants to become a dragon slayer just like his role models, voiced by Gerard Butler and late night talk show host Craig Ferguson. (I guess Billy Connolly was busy??) But after a meaningful encounter with a wounded dragon, Baruchel changes his feelings against harming these possibly misunderstood creatures.
I must say, I’m not quite sure why Baruchel is turning up in so many films these days. (In 2010 he also starred in ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ and ‘She’s Out of My League’) He’s ok I guess, but as I’ve written before, he strikes me as a younger, poor man’s Christian Slater.
I’m also not quite sure why the older Vikings have Scottish accents, and the young ones sound like American teenagers. But I can let that go. (After all, I was always quite forgiving about Kevin Costner’s lack of a British accent when he played Robin Hood. Sometimes you just have to suspend your disbelief, right?)
I do like the score by John Powell, which was MUCH better than the overplayed pop tune soundtrack in another recent DreamWorks film, ‘Megamind’. But there aren’t any emotional scenes like you consistently get in a Pixar film. And that always gives Pixar a leg up on DreamWorks for me.
This film has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the best rated films of the year. And there’s even speculation it may receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. I personally think that’s extreme. It’s good for what it is, and probably good for parents with kids, but it's not one of the best films of the year. Not by a long shot.