Skip to main content

How to Train Your Dragon

Movie Title: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Spoilers: none

---

How to Train Your Dragon - despite having a title that is more fit for a reviewer's review of it than the movie - is an awesome film for a plentitude of reasons, not the least of which being that it involves Vikings. Vikings are cool for their horned helmets alone, not to mention their facial hair, fighting, or berserker’s rages, or their sheer sizable presences. The way they carry their mugs can be a status symbol by itself.

To connect with the coolness of the Viking theme, you needn’t know about Erik the Red or his son Leif and their journeys establishing the first Nordic settlement. If you fail to connect with the aforementioned, try learning about a Viking named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel). 

On the small, dragon-infested island of Berk, the seafaring, land-conquering Vikings have their hands full as they strive to fight off hungry, fire-breathing dragons. The story of their plight is made all the more interesting, not by a hardened, entrails-slashing fighter, but by one boy who has no fighting experience or the courage to slaughter a beast.

Hiccup is the unfit and unusually small-framed son of Stoick the Vast (voiced by Gerard Butler), the proud leader of the tribe. As a disappointment to his father and people, he is the least to look up to for a combat-obsessed but accomplished people like the Vikings. What has he to offer a bloodthirsty and brutish culture?

Astrid (voiced by America Ferrera) is the girl he has a crush on, but she is in young warrior’s school with him and four other students who prefer to assert themselves like their burly fathers and mothers. They have each of their sights set on being the first to take down a Night Fury, the unseen and most deadly of dragons, a thing no Viking has ever done. Hiccup doesn’t show signs of promise in combat, and combat is what Astrid is interested in.

In a society where you must kill to get ahead, how is Hiccup ever going to attract a mate and win the favor of his people? His prospects are bleak until something happens that puts him in a position to learn a thing or two about dragons that will forever change the course of his people’s history.

How to Train Your Dragon is as well written as it is well animated. The subtleties of facial expressions and demeanors are more real than if the most talented actor put them on display. As nicely done is the unassuming voice-work, with no one trying too hard to leave personal impressions.

There are large amounts of combat violence and parts that may prove too scary for very young viewers, but despite talk of killing and slaying, there is no visible bloodshed or graphic depictions of mortality.

The Viking people (who are occasionally seen to call upon and thank Odin) have surely never been seen so heartwarmingly portrayed in animation, but that is probably true of the dragons as well. With great emotional and mental investment, the viewer will come to love both camps.

Paced perfectly, you will find creative visual stimulation in seeing Dragon’s lairs and various types of dragons, Viking celebrations and traditions, and pages from Viking books in Viking-style writing. Your only wonder while getting to know them as they live their lives—what will come of dragons and humans? Can they ever interact?

How to Train Your Dragon is as close as one can come to a flawless film, one that makes you forget you’re a critic by simply being all-round irresistible. It has much to say about the fact that our greatest fears often lie in what we don’t understand or are not willing to take the time to learn about.

Additional voice talents include the likes of Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and T.J. Miller. Here is a DreamWorks film that unexpectedly rivals the animation champion, Pixar, although this film has the odd distinction of being prefaced by trailers that don’t make it look like a great movie. But I have not a doubt in my mind that this will be the one to beat in the race for 2010's Best Movie of the Year.

(JH)

---

Grade: A+ (4 stars) Recommended!
Rated: PG (for depictions of violence and terror)
Directors: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
Summary: A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons befriends one and begins to learn their ways.
Starring: Jay Baruchel "Hiccup" (voice), Gerard Butler "Stoick" (voice), Craig Ferguson "Gobber" (voice), America Ferrera "Astrid" (voice), Jonah Hill "Snotlout" (voice), Christopher Mintz-Plasse "Fishlegs" (voice), T.J. Miller "Tuffnut" (voice), Kristen Wiig "Ruffnut" (voice)
Genre: Animation / Adventure / Comedy / Family / Fantasy
Trailer

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

Movie Review: Blair Witch (2016)