Based on the book How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, the story is about Hiccup (the voice of Jay Baruchel), a young Viking who defies tradition when he befriends one of his deadliest foes—a ferocious dragon he calls Toothless. Together, the unlikely heroes must fight against all odds to save both their worlds in this fire-breathing action, epic, animated adventure. How To Train Your Dragon is available as a Blu-ray™ 3-D release as part of the Samsung Starter Kit and as a single Blu-ray Disc from Walmart. A standalone Blu-ray 3-D release is expected sometime in 2011. (Gary Reber)
Special features include a trailer of Megamind 3D.
Theatrically released in Digital 3D and IMAX 70 mm horizontal DMR blowup dual-strip 3D, the 2.35:1 1080p MVC picture is terrific, with an impeccable computer-animated rendering. The detail is sensational, down to the finest textures exhibited in Viking armor, wooden structures and ships, dragon scales, and earthy landscape and sky nuances. The color palette is vivid and richly hued, with impressively saturated imagery. Contrast is impressive as well, with deep, solid blacks, as seen in Toothless' black body. Shadow detail is as impressive and reveals extraordinary textural resolution. Fleshtone hues are believable and are as natural as animation will permit. The picture is colorfully exciting, as are the adrenaline-charged action sequences. This is a phenomenal visual experience that is absolutely reference quality. Originally rendered in 3D, the dimensionality in the 2-D version is nicely layered, but the 3-D version takes the experience to a completely different level of dimensionalism. The 3-D version is even more satisfying, as it was in its theatrical presentations, and draws a much larger imaginative world. The Vikings' training arena appears expansive, with impressive perceptible spacial scale and depth. The forest area where Hiccup and Toothless bond is spatially rendered by the presence of large rock formations surrounded by wooded areas with natural spacing between trees and depictions of protruding tree branches, which enhances the sense of depth and perspective. The 3-D effect adds tremendously to the flying dragon and action sequences, making them incredibly exciting and thrilling to watch. At one point, Toothless zooms in and around seaside cliffs in a dazzling display of computer-generated effects that captures all the excitement of a soaring roller-coaster ride. The subtle dimensionality and sense of realistic and immersive depth is wonderfully stimulating. Even close-up shots of Toothless and the Vikings show off subtle shaping and depth clues that engage the visual senses in satisfying ways, thanks to 3-D technology. This is one of the most perfect animated presentations to be released on Blu-ray Disc and a fantastic visual experience. The 3D is done perfectly, with spectacular 3-D sequences. The overall look is pristine, with no visibly distracting double images or ghosting. And the computer animation is absolute state of the art! (Gary Reber)
The Dolby® TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is wonderful! Every element works well, and fidelity is richly layered. The added two channels are positioned as 90-degree side channels, relative to the traditional 5.1-channel layout, with the surrounds located approximately between 120 and 135 degrees. The added channels provide a more focused and larger frontal hemisphere of sound, providing enhanced support for panning around the soundfield. The soundfield is exceptionally spacious and dimensional, with an aggressive directionalized surround presence contributed by atmospheric effects and other sound effects and a lush orchestral music score. During battle scenes, in particular, the surrounds are fiery aggressive, with fireballs shooting off in various directions, and the sense of holosonic® envelopment is impressive. Even during quieter scenes, low-level ambiance and atmospheric sounds are rendered with artful dimensionality. Dialogue, while ADR, sounds nicely integrated spatially. The spectacular, soaring music score is sweeping, with a wide and deep soundfield presence that extends effectively into the surrounds. The imaginative world of Vikings and Dragons is excitingly portrayed in engaging soundscapes. Explosions are dramatic and fully energized, with .1 LFE extension to sub-25 Hz frequencies. The climactic scene engages all the channels in an intense SPL display of energy that is very exciting! This is a reference-quality soundtrack throughout! (Gary Reber)