Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon
How to Train Your Dragon is DreamWorks’ new action – adventure computer-animated film based on Cressida Cowell’s book. In this mythical Vikings vs. dragons tale, we are introduced to Hiccup, a teenage misfit with more brains than brawn who doesn’t exactly fit in with his tribe’s longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. What intensifies the pressure for him even more is that he is the son of Chieftain Stoick the Vast, the most renowned dragon slayer on the island. The father is embarrassed by the son’s limited dragon-slaying skills and is naturally over-protective. Despite the obstacles, Hiccup desires to emulate his father, until he comes face to face with a live dragon and realizes that he is unable to rip out its heart, as he senses the dragon is just afraid as him as he is of the dragon. Instead, he befriends the fearsome predator and makes it his pet, treating it with gentleness, kindness, and love.
Gobber the Belch, the old peg-legged, one-handed Viking trainer, sympathizes with Hiccup and serves as a mediator between Stoick and Hiccup, convincing the father that his son would benefit from dragon-slaying lessons. Hiccup becomes smitten with Astrid, a beautiful blond ice maiden who is tough as nails and is determined to be the top student in the class. Astrid isn’t much interested in Hiccup until his unorthodox ways begin to make sense to her.
The vivid imagery, the well-told narrative, and the unique, colorful characters all make How to Train Your Dragon a great film. It was better than I expected for these reasons and also because it contains good family values – the importance of getting along with others – especially family members, and loving those we fear, instead of destroying them. This is a refreshing and exciting film that you will truly enjoy. I heartily recommend it.
Caution: There are some frightening and violent scenes in this film, which make it inappropriate for young children and sensitive children.
Rated PG for sequences of intense action and some scary images, and brief mild language.
Note: It can be seen in 3D, but I prefer 2D and was very impressed with the visual animation.
~© Jean M. Heimann 2010