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10-Year-Old Movie Critic Becomes A Star Himself

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10-Year-Old Movie Critic Becomes A Star Himself


10-Year-Old Movie Critic Becomes A Star Himself

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

(Soundbite of movie, "How to Train Your Dragon")

Unidentified Man #1: I'm really beginning to question your teaching method.

Unidentified Man #2: Look for those blind spots. Every dragon has one. Find it, hide in it...

HANSEN: The animated adventure-comedy "How to Train Your Dragon" from DreamWorks opened in theaters this weekend. Reviews are starting to come in, including this one from a youngster named Perry Chen.

Mr. PERRY CHEN (Movie Reviewer): Yeah, I rate movies with starfish.

Ms. AMERICA FERRARA (Actress): You do?

Mr. CHEN: Um-hum.

Ms. FERRARA: And how many starfish did we get?

Mr. CHEN: You got four-and-a-half starfish.

Ms. FERRARA: Ooh, tough critic. Four-and-a-half out of five?

Mr. CHEN: Yep.

HANSEN: That's 10-year-old Perry Chen, talking with actress America Ferrara, one of the star's of "How to Train Your Dragon" on San Diego TV station KUSI.

He's been making quite a name for himself as a film critic with his Web site, He can also be heard on "Perry Previews the Movies" on Perry Chen joins us now from the studios of KPBS. Welcome.

Mr. CHEN: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: I hear you gave "How to Train Your Dragon" a rating of 4.5 starfish. Is that a good review?

Mr. CHEN: Yep. It's perrific, which is my coined word with Perry and terrific.

HANSEN: Oh really? So, have you given any other films that same rating of perrific?

Mr. CHEN: Well, yep. A lot of films, like "Up." Also, I gave "The Secret of Kells," which was an Oscar nominee.

HANSEN: Why do you use starfish?

Mr. CHEN: To be more kid-friendly.

HANSEN: There you go.

Mr. CHEN: 'Cause I'm a kid, actually.

HANSEN: I think at 10 years old you still qualify as a kid, yeah.

Mr. CHEN: Um-hum.

HANSEN: You got credentials to attend the press junket for the movie in Los Angeles. Who'd you meet?

Mr. CHEN: I met three stars and two co-directors. The two co-directors are Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois and voice talents were Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson and for Astrid, it was America Ferrera.

HANSEN: Wow. You must have been very excited to meet these people.

Mr. CHEN: Yep.


Mr. CHEN: I sure was.

HANSEN: What did they say when you told them that you were a movie critic?

Mr. CHEN: Well, when they - they actually treated me just like an adult and like you would treat me.

HANSEN: And that's the way you like it.

Mr. CHEN: Yep.

HANSEN: Yeah. You wrote an essay, a lovely essay, on how to write a movie review that you sent to us. And it's a list of how you rate a movie and what you look for. So, let me ask you: what is it you look for in a movie?

Mr. CHEN: I look for strong characters and really colorful. And also, I look for interesting storyline, stunning visuals. But the most important is a powerful moral.

HANSEN: What was the moral in "How to Train Your Dragon"?

Mr. CHEN: The moral is friends are more powerful than foes. And being different empowers you to see what others cannot.

HANSEN: That's a good moral. You know, so many people watch movies on DVD these days or they will go to their On Demand feature, if they have that on their cable systems. You like to go to a movie theater?

Mr. CHEN: Yep.

HANSEN: What is it for you? Why is it - what is it about going to the movies to an actual theater to see a movie that's special to you?

Mr. CHEN: Well, 'cause it has a bigger screen, so it looks more real. And also in the theater, all the people who are sitting around you, when they see something funny, they laugh. But in the house, there's not many people to laugh except for my mom.

HANSEN: Right, right. Do you think you'll still be as interested in movies when you grow up?

Mr. CHEN: Yep.

HANSEN: Yeah. They're always going...

Mr. CHEN: I may grow up to be a column movie reviewer because a director sent me mail, a letter in the mail, that said that I don't have to be a movie reviewer when I grow up but for now, keep at it.

HANSEN: Ten-year-old film critic Perry Chen. He's also an artist. You can see some of his drawings and read his full review of "How to Train Your Dragon" on our Web site, And Perry Chen joined us from the studios of KPBS in San Diego. Perry, thank you very much.

Mr. CHEN: And thank you for having me on your show. I had a perrific time.

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