<p>&nbsp;Jason Segel plays Vector, one of the supervillains in 'Despicable Me,' and in this scene demonstrates my own technique for handling all computer issues</p>

Watch: 'How To Train Your Dragon' and 'Despicable Me' both claim dates in 2010

Posted Nov 4, 2009 6:30 PM By Drew McWeeny

Being a lifelong animation fan is interesting, because you find yourself either eternally optimistic that each new animated project could be great or eternally depressed at how many of them are wretched craven hollow propositions.  It sort of blows me away how hard it is to make an animated movie, and how many of the studio animated films of the last 20 years are awful, and how I can't even imagine who in the process believes that the project is a good idea.

That's why I celebrate when I see something that really works.  That's why Pixar seems like a non-stop miracle.  That's why I cherish "The Iron Giant."  That's why so many animation fans turn to overseas film culture to find animation that they can enjoy.  And those moments of greatness are enough to keep me looking whenever anyone's opening something new.

Having two kids under five, I'm also pretty much guaranteed to see every animated film that's PG or G for the next decade, so I've made my peace with that, and I'm just in the mode where I root for people to make these films better than they have to be.

So of course, I'm curious when two major new animated films for 2010 release both release trailers in the same week, and both of them look like interesting attempts at playing new twists on old conventions.

First, there's the Dreamworks film, "How To Train Your Dragon," which features the voice of Jay Baruchel as a young man who comes from a town where dragons are a constant threat, and it's understood that they are to be destroyed on sight.  When he ends up with a dragon of his own, he starts to suspect that all of his perceptions of what a dragon is might be wrong.

Baruchel's going to have an interesting year in 2010, with both this and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" putting him to the test as a leading man.  I like his work, but I think these two films will test his ability to connect with an audience more than anything so far.

Take a look:



I definitely think this fantasy world is more interesting than the world of "Shrek," at least visually, and I'm hoping this is closer to the "Kung Fu Panda" end of things.  I mean, Chris "Lilo & Stitch" Sanders is one of the directors of the film, so that's got to count for something.  The voice cast also includes Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Chris Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, and Jonah Hill.

Ms. Wiig's been busy, though, because in July, she's also contributing a voice to "Despicable Me," a Universal release which looks like a "Spy Vs. Spy" style riff on the world of supervillains, at least based on the evidence of the new trailer which just went live over at Apple.com.

The film is directed by Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, and Sergio Pablos, and in this new trailer, you see both Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and Vector (voiced by Jason Segel).  The film also features Will Arnett, Ken Jeong, Russell Brand, Danny McBride, Julie Freakin' Andrews, Jemaine Clement, Mindy Kaling, Jack McBrayer, and yes, Kristen Wiig.  It looks to me like an overt farce, and I'll admit... this new trailer looks like something I'd really dig.  The animation itself is particularly sharp.  I like the detail work, the way the humans are designed and performed.  It's those sorts of things I look for in an animated film, after all... the technical end as well as what the movie's content is.  So far, "Despicable Me" doesn't look like anything else out there, and that's a good thing.

"How To Train Your Dragon" is in theaters in March, and "Despicable Me" will arrive in July.

Can't get enough of Motion/Captured? Don't miss a post with daily HitFix Blog Alerts. Sign up now.

Don't miss out. Add Motion/Captured to your iGoogle, My Yahoo or My MSN experience by clicking here.

Not part of the HitFix Nation yet? Take 90 seconds and sign up today.

Select how you want to comment

  • R2d2-avatar_talkback_profile
    ShadowMaker SdR
    Is it just me, or does Vector look like Bill Gates in a tracksuit?
    November 5, 2009 at 5:03AM EST
    Login & reply
  • Gerberdaisyjpg_talkback_profile
    that dragon looks like its related to stitch
    November 5, 2009 at 11:07AM EST
    Login & reply
  • Default-avatar
    When did Dreamworks Animation become allergic to quality? Back when they released Antz at the same time as A Bug's Life, it looked like they had a shot at being an even better studio than Pixar; then they did Shrek, which was fun if overly gimmicky and reference-heavy... and then everything just went to shit while Pixar got better and better. These days DWA doesn't even seem to be *trying* to make any memorable films, just mildly entertaining flashes of pop art that only need to resonate for as long as they're in theaters. They take scripts that were slapped together by a few low-level "American Dad" writers and throw $150 million worth of technology and a bunch of A-list actors at them and assume that all somehow equals substance.
    November 5, 2009 at 2:35PM EST
    Login & reply
  • Dante01._talkback_profile
    yeah that dragon is Stich in drag! DragonTrainer looks great, the norse fantasy setting and the hulking vikings are really well done. love the little details like the ratty curvy hornes on the sheep. it even seems like there's a real story and some real characters in there. Kung Fu Panda was a lot better than anything DW did before, it looked spectacular, had amazing action and even a few truly memorable moments. Lilo and Stich was quite good too.
    November 5, 2009 at 10:04PM EST
    Login & reply
  • Default-avatar
    Carlos (guest)
    Write a comment...
    January 24, 2011 at 9:20PM EST
    Login & reply
  • Default-avatar
    Carlos (guest)
    January 24, 2011 at 9:22PM EST
    Login & reply