How to Train Your Dragon

A Movie review

As you know, it is my opinion that the Vikings were the first legitimate pirates.  When I first saw the trailer for How to Train Your Dragon I was sold, then I saw the movie and it is now one of my favorite animated films ever.

Let’s start with the story and before we get any further – THERE BE SPOILERS!

The son of the leader (Stoic) of the Viking village, Hiccup, is not quiet the hero that his father is.  He wants to be heroic and he wants to be the leader that his dad is but he is small and bookish.  His father likewise wants his son to excel in the same manner as the other children in the village.  The Viking town is constantly under attack from a flock of dragons that are nearby.  Eventually, Hiccup befriends an injured Dragon that got hurt during an attack on the village.  He makes a device that allows the dragon to fly again, which of course leads to some amazing scenes of the dragon flying around a fantastical Scandinavian landscape.

Hiccup is eventually found out, the dragon is imprisoned and the Vikings are going to go attack the dragons lair.  In the end, Hiccup loses a limb and the Vikings and the dragons become friends.  Wow! I didn’t think that I would be able to synopsize the plot that easily.

The Good
Almost everything.  I love this flick.  The animation is the first thing that really sticks out.  At the time it came out it is the best Dreamworks animated films I have ever seen – both story and animation.

The plot is the seller though.  Good story line, not just for kids.  It works for both adults and kids without dumbing things down – it also pulls no punches.  the hero loses a limb for goodness sake.

The voice acting was great as well.  The actors threw themselves into the story and into their characters.  You never got the feel that they were just phoning it in.  They sold their performances and made the fantastic animation come alive.

Have I mentioned the animation? WOW!

The Bad
The big dragon?!? I would haveliked to have had an idea that the big dragon existed a little earlier into the movie.  They go off to find / fight the giant wyrm without really having any knowledge that he exists.  Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome battle and I loved the giant dragon but it would have been nice to have seen him earlier in the flick.  To have had some foreshadowing, prior to the reveal. The screenwriter for How to Train Your Dragon should have given us a little bit of a peak at this major villain earlier int he film.

The Ugly
My only compliant is the fact that the dragons are not speakers.  i like the idea of the benevolent old dragon and these seemed more like insects with a hive-mind.  I liked that they classified all the dragons and it became easy to spot which kinds they were and you could expect their behavior from what you had learned earlier in the film.  Great plot device but I would have liked to have seen dragons with a little more intelligence ( I guess that is the D&D guy in me coming out).