A fabulous 'Dragon' tale on DVD and Blu-ray

How to Train Your Dragon
By Jen Chaney
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 12, 2010; 12:41 PM

With the summer movie season behind us, the family entertainment offerings -- at least at the megaplex -- have hit a temporary lull. Thankfully, some home entertainment options -- or, to be more specific, the release of "How to Train Your Dragon," the animated adventure that arrives Friday in a single DVD ($29.99), double-disc DVD ($39.99) and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack ($39.99) -- ably fill the void.

"Dragon," which became a box office smash last spring that earned more than $200 million, is more proof that Pixar isn't the only studio capable of delivering visually stunning and engaging storytelling for the younger set. This DreamWorks production -- which follows a gangly Viking-in-training named Hiccup (voice of Jay Baruchel) who is desperate to win his dragon-slaying dad's approval and equally desperate to maintain his new friendship with a formidable fire-breather -- makes a lovely leap to the smaller screen, with vivid visuals (especially in high-def) and notably strong audio that's as immersive and wall-rattling as it was in theaters.

Even better, the double-disc DVD and DVD/Blu-ray combo pack come with a sizeable amount of well-done extras, from behind-the-scenes featurettes to a brand new animated short to a charming ten-minute tutorial in which animator Gabe Hordos demonstrates how to draw Toothless, the main dragon in the film, and actually makes it seem like an achievable task. The Blu-ray also comes with some exclusive pieces of bonus material, including a clever "Animators' Corner" track that allows the audience to watch picture-in-picture interviews, storyboards and animatics during the film, as well as an in-depth, 50-minute documentary -- accessible via Blu-ray's BD-Live technology -- that puts the viewer smack in the middle of the creative process, even in the room when the crew gets feedback from DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

In other words "How to Train Your Dragon" provides plenty of material to occupy the time of kids and parents while they wait for high-profile animated pictures like "Megamind" and Disney's "Tangled" to provide more solid reasons to go to the movies again.

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