No one witnesses or believes his feat. So, after his father and most of the fighters leave on a voyage to find the elusive dragons’ nest, Hiccup goes to hunt for the downed dragon. He finds the injured Night Fury but doesn’t have the heart to kill it.
Instead, Hiccup tends the dragon, which can no longer fly without aid because of its wounded tail. Hiccup dubs the deadly but oddly cute beast Toothless, and his efforts to forge a friendship with the expressive (but thankfully speechless) creature provide some of the movie’s most engaging moments.
As Hiccup bonds with Toothless, he is able to use his newfound knowledge in dragon-training class, with his skills astounding Gobber and his once-jeering classmates, including bulky and brainy Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), blowhard Snotlout (Jonah Hill) and bickering twins Ruffnut and Tuffnut (Kristen Wiig and T.J. Miller). But fierce fighter Astrid (America Ferrera) is suspicious of Hiccup’s sudden prowess and not only uncovers his secret but helps him unravel a key mystery about the dragons.
"How to Train Your Dragon” may prove too scary for tiny or timid tots, but it ranks with "Shrek” and "Kung Fu Panda” as one of DreamWorks Animation’s best films.
— Brandy McDonnell