Dreamworks animators tend to serve up satire with a sprinkle of sweetness (the Shrek
franchise, Madagascar, Monsters vs. Aliens
) but their latest, a film inspired by Cassandra Cowell's eight-book Dragon series, is all sweetness with its heartwarming take on tolerance. Lilo and Stitch
directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois enjoy bringing the childlike fantasy of taming ones own dragon to vivid 3D life. The plot revolves around the small Viking town of Berk, its inhabitants' hatred of dragons and one young boy's desire to find approval in the eyes of his father, a town hero for dragon-slaying. When the boy, called Hiccup, takes down a mysterious beast, he thinks his problems are over until he befriends the dragon and embarks on an entirely new adventure. One part of this film's charm exists in its poetic storyline, which teaches life lessons of acceptance and embraces a "make love not war" philosophy. The other part exists in its brilliant 3D format that bristles and pops with pitch-perfect shadowing and movement.