Box art for How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon

anime & animation, children & family

Hiccup is a young Viking who defies convention when he befriends one of his deadliest foesa ferocious dragon he calls Toothless.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 7
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
Educational value
2 out of 5
1 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
Sexy Stuff
1 out of 5
Violence & scariness
3 out of 5

Thrilling 3-D adventure sends brains-over-brawn message.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this excellent adventure comedy about a clever young Viking includes some fantasy violence and potentially frightening images of dragons which could scare some young movie-goers. The dragons attack the Viking village, causing mass destruction, and in a couple of cases, they cripple characters. There's some mild flirting and two brief kisses between teens, and one bittersweet discussion about a deceased mother (and her armored breast plate, which has been fashioned into two helmets). Because the 3-D effects up the intensity level of the action sequences, easily scared older kids may jump out of their seat in the dragon-fighting scenes. On a positive note, with a strong female character and an honorable, brainy protagonist, kids will learn the value of cooperation, teamwork, and seeing beyond the surface of a situation.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about what makes Hiccup a misfit. How does having Stoic the Vast for a father make him feel about himself? How is the relationship between Hiccup and his dad portrayed? What changes in their relationship throughout the movie?
  • Astrid looks like a "blond bombshell" type, but she's not the typical pretty blond girl. In what ways does her character rise above stereotypes of unattainable beauty? Is she a good role model for girls?
  • What did you think of the use of 3-D in the movie, especially in the dragon scenes? How did it compare to other 3-D movies? Was anything too scary?
  • Every hero on a journey has some help. Who helps Hiccup? Does he have any mentors or teachers? What about his friends?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: 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.

- John Hartl, Seattle Times, Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fresh: 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.

- Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fresh: By Odin, they make it work.

- Tom Russo, Boston Globe, Thursday, March 25, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Dreamworks is finally back, producing a film on the caliber of Shrek that is entertaining for both children and adults. This is easily the best animated film of 2010, and ranks up there with Wall-E for best animation film in recent history. It's cute and feel-good like so many children's films, but this boasts a soothing emotional heart to go with it. The touching relationship between the boy and the dragon is what really sets it apart from other films. The underlying message of acceptance and tolerance is also something to be admired here.Fun and entertaining with a good blend of action and recognizable vocal talents (Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, etc) make this a solid film. This is one of 3 or 4 child animated films of all time that I would actually put in my personal collection.

- DerekA101, Friday, October 29, 2010

3 stars

"You see, most places have mice or mosquitoes. We have...dragons." How to Train Your Dragoni is a fairly typical, but fun, animated movie. It's not among the best that I've seen, but it's certainly entertaining enough to give a shot, especially if you have kids. The story is a blend of the usual stuff you get from these kinds of movies: the "different" hero who doesn't fit in, the love interest that's won over by the finale, and a misunderstanding to overcome and unite the dragons and Vikings by the end against a common threat. Some of the humor fell flat, but that's really the only criticism worth mentioning. The voice talent was very good, and the visuals were beyond good. All the unique designs for the different kinds of dragons were pretty cool, as well. Those things plus the pretty thrilling ending will keep adults from being bored, and kids will probably be sold from the very beginning. How to Train Your Dragon may not do anything new or exceptionally well, but it's a likeable movie, nonetheless.

- lewiskendell, Tuesday, October 19, 2010

4 stars

Me and animated family movies are not the best of friends. Those films are usually obnoxiously loud, painfully stupid, unnecessarily goofy and insult the intelligence of the children watching and alienate older audiences. "How to Train Your Dragon" is the exact opposite of that. Here is a film that combines a great story with heartfelt characters and humor, fun action scenes, and a great moral message about understanding and acceptance. Throw in a fantastic voice cast, striking visuals and you get a film that kids will love, older audiences will relate to and something that is just plain fun. "How to Train Your Dragon" is a unique family film that transcends it's genre. A perfect companion film with the equally great "Ramona and Beezus".

- stevenecarrier, Sunday, October 17, 2010