Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Dreamworks’ Animation

MPAA Rating: PG

Director:  Dean DeBois & Chris Sanders

Review Rating: 8

Hiccup is a small young man with big dreams, in a Viking village where the only sport and joy in life is to hunt and kill dragons!

This is an absolutely adorable movie, and not as far fetched as you might think. Most everything is very accurate, even for Vikings – yes their women DID fight, yes they DID have a system of writing (it’s called Futhark runes), and yes Vikings really ARE that all-around crazy and boisterously fun about it! But then we have little Hiccup, son of the Chieftan, small and strange, who would rather make things with his hands and spend his days dreaming, than train to kill dragons in the arena. Everyone blames him for being weird, getting in the way, and causing mass destruction when he comes up with yet another hare-brained way to use machines to kill dragons. Until one night, when dragons are raiding the village’s food supply and Hiccup hauls out an automatic bola-chucker against a Night Flyer dragon, which actually works and downs the beast somewhere in a far off forest.

Hiccup just has to go out and find the dragon he downed, kill it and bring the carcass triumphantly to the Chieftan. But unsurprisingly, it just doesn’t work out that way, and Hiccup makes a new friend that he decides to call, for some reason, Toothless. This adorable black dragon with the yellow-green eyes, that acts for all the world like a big big cat or skittish horse, is wonderfully portrayed, and really makes the audience go, “Oh man, I had a cat like that once.” Hiccup makes a prosthetic wing-end for Toothless and together they learn to fly, while Hiccup’s dad sets off to find the dragons nest for extermination, and at the same time Hiccup begins dragon-killing training in the arena. And all of a sudden, Hiccup begins demonstrating the most marvelous passive mad-skillz in the arena, where he uses some trick (of dragon-nip, scritches, or smell-me-I’m-safe) to cow the dragons there instead of killing them. And when the Chieftan comes back, after totally not finding the dragons’ nest and discovers what a Viking dragon-killer his son has become in his absence, of course he wants to give Hiccup all kinds of accolades – like the honor of killing a dragon in front of the entire village at the ‘graduation ceremony’. Things continue on their merry way, up to the battle with the entire dragons lair, and of course the day is eventually saved by Hiccup and Toothless, who isn’t quite so anymore! Rather than ruin it, I say just rent this adorable take on dragons and Vikings, and the lovely idea that even the weirdest kid in the bunch has something special that may one day save your butt!

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