This witty and satisfying CGI spectacular from DreamWorks manages to seem archetypal whereas the soulless, humorless Avatar was merely formulaic. Jay Baruchel supplies the voice of the hero, a skinny teenage dreamer in a village of burly Vikings who maintain a continual red alert against raiding dragons. The boy discovers he has an affinity with the scaly beasts but still struggles to win the respect and understanding of his ultra-macho warrior dad (an unaccountably entertaining Gerard Butler). Codirectors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders understand more about visualizing the joy of flight than James Cameron ever will (98 min.).
Director: Lorna Cook and David Soren
Writer: William Davies and Cressida Cowell
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrara, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig and T.J. Miller