A Shockingly Well-Rated Gerard Butler Movie Is Making A Major Comeback On Netflix

By Michileen Martin | 2 months ago

gerard butler phantom of the opera

Gerard Butler isn’t exactly what you’d call the darling of film critics. His films often get mercilessly slammed by reviewers, even when it comes to his signature role of King Leonidas in 300. But there’s one film that just about every reviewer from A-Z adores and, considering what it is, it’s tempting to humor the theory that for some reason critics just don’t like Butler’s face. According to the aggregate critics scores on Rotten Tomatoes, Butler’s most well-reviewed film — with a near-perfect 99% score — is the 2010 animated action fantasy feature How to Train Your Dragon. The franchise-maker hit #9 on Netflix’s Top 10 streamed films in the U.S. this week

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Gerard Butler lends his voice to Stoick the Vast in How to Train Your Dragon. The powerful Viking is the chief of the Hooligan tribe and the father of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), the film’s hero. Though Stoick is a great warrior as well as a well-intentioned father and leader, he lacks the compassion and vision of his son. When Hiccup traps a dragon early in the film but fails to kill it, Stoick is disappointed in the boy. Before he leaves in the hopes of wiping out the dragons of the world for good, Stoick puts his son in a class that will teach him how to fight the winged beasts. Instead, Hiccup heads to the woods, finds the dragon he trapped earlier, and befriends him, eventually learning that the other dragons are being forced to attack Berk by a massive dragon called the Red Death.

The Gerard Butler character comes to disown his son upon learning what Hiccup has been up to. Recruiting Astrid (America Ferrera) and the other teenage Vikings, and using the dragons he’s trained to fly, Hiccup races to the Dragon’s Nest to save Toothless, his father, and defeat the Red Death. Just as Stoick and his son find a better understanding of one another, humans and dragons learn to live in cooperation and peace.

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How to Train Your Dragon took home a worldwide gross of close to half a billion dollars, but that payday was just the beginning of a lucrative multimedia franchise for DreamWorks. Two more feature films were to follow — 2014’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 2019’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World — both of which enjoyed similar box office returns to the first film, and Gerard Butler returned to voice Stoick the Vast for both. Between 2010 and 2019, a half dozen short films were made for the franchise, with Butler showing up for around half of them. Three television series spun out of the films — DreamWorks Dragons, DreamWorks Dragons: Rescue Riders, and DreamWorks Dragons: The Nine Realms, along with a dozen video games. The year 2019 alone saw the release of two games from the franchise — the mobile game Dragons: Titans Uprising and the PC/console game Dragons: Dawn of New Riders.

Gerard Butler hasn’t taken a lot of other voice work since How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, but that’s about to change, and as per usual he’ll be playing royalty but on the other side of the ocean. Butler is voicing King Kula, King of the Golden Dolphins, in next year’s animated feature Naya Legend of the Golden Dolphin. He’ll be joined by an incredible all-star cast including Quvenzhané Wallis (Annie) as the eponymous Princess Naya, Kate Winslet (Titanic) as Queen Cupid, Megan Fox (Transformers) as Princess Leilani, Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost) as Aqua, Elliot Page (Juno) as Dusky, Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers) as Zeus, James Franco (127 Hours) as Finn, Cheech Marin (Up in Smoke) as Dude, Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet) as Queen Maya, Julian Lennon (Leaving Las Vegas) as Spotty, and Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as — fittingly — Diego.

As for more live-action fare, Gerard Butler is still here to play. Last year he released the well-received (critically speaking) old school action thriller Copshop opposite Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). He also spilled the beans last September about the upcoming sequel to one of his fan-favorite films, 2018’s Den of Thieves. The follow-up, Den of Thieves 2: Pantera will bring Butler’s hero — LAPD Detective “Big Nick” O’Brien — across the proverbial pond to Europe where he will hunt Donnie (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) from the inaugural film.