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There’s a pun here somewhere. I just can’t find it. Perhaps it is something along the lines of, “perhaps Dreamworks Animation should learn how to make a good animated movie” before they tackle the dragon training. Or, “perhaps they should stop assembling voice casts with names that are hot and concentrate on character.” I’m not sure. They both seem to work, so you take your pick.

Yahoo Movies has splayed out the first trailer for How to Train Your Dragon, the next animated adventure from Dreamworks Animation. And at first glance, I can’t see much here to be excited about. Just when we thought Dreamworks was coming around last year with Kung Fu Panda, they go and drop Jay Baruchel’s all-too-recognizable voice into the story of a boy who just wants to be a real viking warrior. And in order to do so, he has to befriend a dragon, engaging in a friendship that could ultimately turn the tides for his entire homeland forever.

And therein lies the difference between Dreamworks and Pixar. The former seems content with regurgitating the same ‘hero’s journey’ storylines and the same base-level animation, never adding much spice to the mix (the obvious exception being the aforementioned Panda). The latter, the dynamic and ever-escalating leader in the animated feature realm, continues to tell new, fresh stories and delight us with their ability to make story and character priority one, all while dazzling us with their far superior visual aptitude. It is easy to see why one has a following and the other is playing second fiddle.

How to Train Your Dragon is in theaters March 26, 2010. Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrara, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig and T.J. Miller voice the film, directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. The trailer is below for your inspection.


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