How to Train Your Dragon

  • Directors: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
  • Producers: Bonnie Arnold, Michael Connolly, Tim Johnson
  • Writers: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders, Story, Cressida Cowell
  • Genres: Animation
  • Actors: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz Plasse, Craig Ferguson

The film is set in a mythical world of vikings and dragons. The story centers around a viking teenager named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), who lives on the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life. The teen’s smarts and offbeat sense of humor is disliked by his tribe and its chief, Hiccup’s father. However, when Hiccup is included in Dragon Training with the other viking teens, he sees his chance to prove he has what it takes to be a fighter. After he entangles a dragon with a bolas-shooting cannon, Hiccup releases and ends up befriending the dragon. This relationship flips his world upside down as he strives to convince his tribe that they do not need to be dragon-slayers. In the novel, the dragon which is named Toothless is incredibly small for a dragon. In the film, Toothless is a Night Fury, the rarest of all dragons, and is large enough to serve as a flying mount for Hiccup and Astrid.

In initial development, the plot followed the original novel closely but was then altered. About halfway through production, Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois took over as co-directors. The original plot was “heavily loyal to the book” but was regarded as geared to a too-young demographic and too “sweet” and “whimsical”, according to Baruchel.[2]

Over the Hedge

  • Directors: Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick
  • Producers: Bonnie Arnold
  • Writers: Len Blum, and, Karey Kirkpatrick
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Family
  • Actors: Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, Avril Lavigne, William Shatner

RJ the raccoon, while foraging for food, encounters the hibernating bear, Vincent and his large cache of food. RJ tries to steal it, but instead causes the food to be crushed in traffic on a nearby road. Vincent threatens to kill RJ, but RJ quickly promises to replace Vincent’s foodstocks within the week, when Vincent is fully awake from his hibernation. RJ discovers a nearby human suburban community, an optimal source for his task, and encounters a group of woodland creatures that have just woken up from their own hibernation in undeveloped forest that is surrounded by the community. The group is led by Verne the turtle, and includes the hyperactive squirrel Hammy, Stella the skunk, father and daughter opossums Ozzie and Heather, and a family of porcupines, Lou and Penny and their children Spike, Bucky, and Quillo. The animals quickly find that a large hedge was put in place while they were sleeping to separate them from the rest of the human development, and are afraid to venture on the other side.

RJ uses the opportunity to introduce himself to the group and explain that they could have better food by scavenging off the humans. Though Verne is wary of RJ’s plans and believes he may be using them, the group of animals quickly find that RJ is right, and begin raiding the human development repeatedly for food. The disappearance of food does not go unnoticed, and the development homeowner association president, Gladys Sharp, calls in the help of a pest control specialist, Dwayne LaFontant, aka “The Verminator”, who installs an overpowered extermination system in her backyard while trying to track down all the animals in the world. Despite close calls with Dwayne, the group of animals continues to gather food from the humans, RJ secretly making sure the food collected will replace Vincent’s stock exactly. RJ is brought in as part of the pack’s extended family, making him feel guilty about hiding his true intent from them. When RJ tries to approach Verne about it, RJ cannot help but lie about the situation.

A final raid planned by RJ before Vincent’s deadline involves invading Gladys’ home, which requires someone to distract her persian cat, Tiger; Stella is quickly groomed to look like a cat to draw Tiger’s attention away. Though they are able to collect most of the food in the kitchen, RJ inadvertently reveals the truth to Verne as he tries to get a can of Spuddies, which are Vincent’s favorites. During their argument, the animals are soon discovered by Gladys and Dwayne, and though RJ gets away, the other animals are all captured. RJ takes the food to Vincent, but upon seeing the other animals captured, uses the food to stop Dwayne’s van and knock the human unconscious, allowing RJ to free the animals. After apologizing for using the group to his own ends, RJ helps the others drive the van back to the forest, chased by Vincent who floated on balloons, a jester and a knight on a horse. The animals try to take shelter in the hedge, with Vincent trying to claw them out from one side, and Dwayne trying to shock them with a Cattle prod and Gladys trying to use a weedwhacker on them from the other side. RJ and Verne come up with a plan to give Hammy an energy drink, which makes him move at light speed and slow time. This allows him to safely activate the extermination traps while RJ uses himself as bait to lure Vincent into Gladys’ backyard (and surprisingly lives because of Verne’s shell). Vincent, Gladys, and Dwayne are momentarily confused just before they are seriously injured by extermination system. Animal control is called to take Vincent to a nature preserve, while both Gladys is arrested for the use of inhumane traps, Dwayne having managed to slip away. Stella finds that Tiger still has a crush on her despite knowing she is a skunk, as he has long since lost his sense of smell, and both RJ and Tiger are accepted into the group. When Verne realizes that they still need food for the winter, Hammy reveals that he stuffed their log home with nuts.