Arrangers: James McKee Smith; Michael John Mollo; Dominic Lewis; Paul Mounsey.
Released in 2009, How to Train Your Dragon is British composer John Powell's third consecutive animation score, following Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Bolt. With his use of bagpipes, fiddles, pennywhistles, and a military marching band, Powell incorporates a Celtic theme throughout the 25 classical instrumentals and vocal pieces, which include the emotionally stirring "Test Drive," the new age-influenced "Forbidden Friendship," and "Sticks and Stones," a track recorded by Sigur RĒs' frontman JĒnsi. ~ Jon O'Brien
We're in a Golden Age of animated motion pictures. When I was a kid growing up in the 1980s you got one, maybe two films from Disney in a calendar year, plus the odd independent movie like Watership Down or The Secret of NIMH, or some arty foreign language thing with bad dubbing, but that was about your lot. Since the Disney renaissance began in 1989 with The Little Mermaid the strength and popularity of the animated feature has grown exponentially, to the point where every major studio has its own animation department, well over a dozen full length feature animations are released each year, and companies like Pixar break box office records with apparent ease. The competition is fierce, but the Dreamworks studio seems to have managed the right blend of hip comedy and family-friendly action, spinning off from their massively successful Shrek series with hits such as Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and their 20th and most recent feature, How to Train Your Dragon.
Based on a popular children's book by Cressida Cowell, the film is a tale of Vikings and dragons, set on the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life. Hiccup, the son of the Viking chief Stoick the Vast, is a brainy outsider with a smart mouth, and would rather not grow up to fight dragons; he is a terrible embarrassment to his father, who in an attempt to `toughen up' the boy, sends to the dragon-fighting school of Gobber the Belch. However, rather than becoming the fearsome warrior his father intended, Hiccup inadvertently saves the life and befriends the dragon he was supposed to kill... The film stars the voice talent of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrara, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jonah Hill, and is directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, who previously directed Lilo & Stitch for Disney in 2002.
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