I was a bit apprehensive about going to see How to train your Dragon as it looked a bit too targeted at kids and I'm not the biggest fan of 3D movies, but I'm glad to say that it totally exceeded all my expectations.
The animated feature film from DreamWorks more than lives up to the marketing hype by being the best movie I've seen so far this year.
To make my viewing experience even more pleasurable there was also this life-size three dimensional replica of Toothless the Night Fury dragon from the movie on display outside ArcLight Hollywood cinema.
Anyway enough of my dragon charming antics, back to the movie.
'Hiccup' the unlikely hero of the film is a teenage oddity living in a Viking village which is frequently attacked by all manner of dragons. He's different from all the other Vikings and tries desperately to live up to his father's expectations and his warrior heritage, but continually fails.
Knocking an attacking dragon out of the sky one night, he finds he can't kill the wounded beast and instead he secretly befriends the creature and helps it learn to fly again.
That's the general premise of the movie and it's not that new a concept, but it is refreshing to see an animated tale that isn't just a rehash of a well known fairytale.
How to train your Dragon is original, funny and exhilarating, plus it also has real heart and tugs at your emotional heartstrings, from Hiccup's awkward relationship with his father to his bond with Toothless the dragon.
This colourful world of dragons and Vikings is exciting to discover and along with some real laugh out loud moments, it also has a strong storyline which makes you wonder what will happen next.
Even though there are great family values for audience, it's still appealing for an adult viewers. The movie proves you can be different and you don't always have to conform to society's expectations, force is not always the best option, and trying to understand something instead can be the better course to take.
There's also something in there about the consequences of violence and that the characters are facing real danger, be it loss of life or limb. I think that's what elevates the movie above just another action-packed 3D movie.
The animation and character designs are brilliant, down to the movement of their hair, and I even enjoyed the 3D visual elements.
The facial expressions of the teenagers and their attitudes were spot on and I also thought the voice talent was perfect.
Jay Baruchel makes for a distinctive Hiccup and America Ferrera brings his love interest 'Astrid' to life. Gerard Butler has the perfect voice for his Viking father, 'Stoick', and Craig Ferguson adds great comedy as 'Gobber'.
How to train your Dragon really does deserves five **** stars and it's well worth seeing on the big screen, and even I'll admit, in 3D. You'll be engaged by the story, you'll laugh and you may even feel some emotions whilst watching this fantasy spectacle.
Go see it and whist you do I'd better get back to training my own dragon...