How to Train Your Dragon

[As I am currently on hiatus, posts like this will be more the exception than the rule. For further details, see here.]

If there's one form that's been thriving recently, it's the animated film. In the live-action realm, other genres have proved popular without really tapping it into the traditional sources of America's cinematic strength (imagination, storytelling, fantasy). Non-animated movies often seem to have lost touch with the power that  old Hollywood exuded. Contemporary screenwriting focuses more often on themes and ideas than stories and feelings, technique has adopted the fragmented point of view, and while naturalism has been avoided a surface "realism" is all the rage - blockbusters are darker and grittier than they were in the past (though, ironically, excessive CGI has rendered their textures less real than ever). Live-action films have achieved a "flatness" - a focus on surfaces and text - while animated films thrive in a world of created depth, in which computer animation is finally un-shackled from its obligation to dutifully mimic reality and allowed to range free. Most of the great animated films of the epoch have been Pixar movies, but How to Train Your Dragon may be Dream Works' strongest contribution to the pantheon yet.

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