How To Train Your Dragon posterFirst of all, I don't need to mention that the animation is amazing. Anime still does nothing for me, but it seems like every animated film that comes out these days outdoes the last in the visual department, which I certainly wasn't expecting from How to Train Your Dragon. It is one of only a small handful of 3D films that I can think of that is presented in incredibly detailed 3D and yet never feels the need to stop in its tracks to have some goofball 3d moment where a sword or something comes poking out into the audience and we're supposed to go ooh and ahh and reach out and try to touch it. The older generation of movie critics swear against 3D (I'm talkin' to you, Roger Ebert) just like people used to swear against "talking" movies back in the 20s and 30s (I'm talkin' to you, Charlie Chaplin), but it's movies like this one that are making the strongest case for adding another dimension to our local theaters. Avatar didn't hurt, either.Jay Baruchel, also appearing right now in theaters in She's Out of My League, lends his voice to the curiously named Hiccup, a young Viking boy wasn't blessed with much in the brawn department, which isn't the best thing to be lacking in a society oppressed by fire-breathing dragons. Theirs is a society without a lot of room for weakling boys, since dragons routinely destroy houses and livestock, forcing them to constantly rebuild. Their Viking stubbornness prevents them from finding somewhere else to live, but at least the buildings are all brand new.[caption id="attachment_76498" align="alignleft" width="354" caption="Quick! What kind of dragon is it!"]Quick! What kind of dragon is it![/caption]My favorite part of the movie is how much detail it gives us about dragons. They're mythical creatures, of course, but there are so many different kinds of dragons shown to us that it almost feels like an educational documentary, except without the snooze factor. The biggest baddest dragon is known as the Night Fury. No one has ever seen it before, it flashes in and out like a bolt of lightning, leaving death and destruction in its wake, making it a prime target for young dragon hunters seeking fame and glory. But when Hiccup meets one and befriends it, it kind of throws a little money wrench into his training as a dragon killer.Also complicating Hiccups tormented adolescence is his gigantic father Stoick, voiced by Gerard Butler, who really hams up his Scottish accent for the role. How To Train Your DragonMost of the rest of the characters are caricatures without much depth, except for the hilarious town blacksmith, who tends to think that there might be something to Hiccups insistence that there might be more to the dragons than what they've learned from hundreds of years of battling them. The movie is essentially an anti-war film, but don't worry, there is far too much flame-throwing and dragon-riding for it to ever slow down and get political.Thankfully, they decided not to have the dragons talk, which would have completely changed the whole tone of the film, and ruined it, in my opinion. The Night Fury that Hiccup befriends never says a word but still has more personality than most of even the best of talking animals, although I will admit that they overdid the cuteness factor by about 10 notches. Jay Baruchel and his dragon.It's introduced as this mysterious, death-dealing force that comes swooping out of the night, killing innocent Vikings by the hundreds, but upon closer inspection it's more like a giant kitten. I didn't quite expect the "unholy offspring of lightning and death itself" to be quite so adorable, but hey, I have no complaints to offer. It never spoke a word but will still manage to win your heart, as will the movie. Enjoy!The Bean MeterThe Man.