Thursday, April 1, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. Adapted by Cressida Cowell and Dean DeBlois from the novel How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. Released 2010. Rated PG.

If Norse Vikings speaking in Scottish accents is a sin then I will be sure to wear my tartan to hell. But who can blame DeBlois or Sanders for making this decision? Vikings just look like Scotsmen. On top of this, the Vikings had what Scotsmen are always trying to get: Their Freedom!

Oh, and they have one other thing: the most realistic cartoon dragons you’ll ever see. How to Train Your Dragon was one of the best looking animations I have ever seen. On the people, you’ll spend most of your time looking at hair and clothes. The textures are tangible. On the dragons, it goes much deeper.

You know how babies will pick up anything they see and try to eat it? Or have you ever seen something and just wanted to touch it? I was resisting the urge this entire movie. The dragons looked like layered scales and muscle. Their scaly skin stretched, scrunched, and folded like real reptiles. I wished my pet turtle was still alive so I could name him Toothless, after the leading dragon. But my turtle would fit the name better, for reasons you’ll see in the movie.

How to Train Your Dragon is a contemporary take on romanticized Viking life. “It snows nine months of the year and hails the other three. All the food that grows here is tough and tasteless. The people, more so,” says the sarcastic hero of the story, Hiccup. He happens to be the skinniest, least war-like Viking that has ever lived. His dad happens to be the opposite, and the Chief. Neither of them is very impressed with our hero when occasional dragon outbreaks occur and the only thing Hiccup can do is help the gimpy weapon smith. But when Hiccup secretly befriends a rare and dangerous dragon his opinions change.


It may not be the most original story line, it may not even resemble the novel it’s based off of, but if you don’t enjoy the plot then you must not have liked E.T. and in my book, that lands you in the same fiery hole as the Pagan Scots.

The movie deals with a vast array of themes starting humanism, flirting with pacifism, dwelling on familial acceptance and then thinking twice, following in Dreamworks’ pattern of producing higher level family entertainment (ignoring Madagascar). If our hero isn’t as bloodthirsty as his neighbors are, don’t think that Greenpeace made it, either. Action is very present and when its not, sarcastic and clever characters are. The audience, at any age, shouldn't be bored.

I didn’t see this movie in 3-D. Alice in Wonderland and Up had scarred me. I regretted my decision the entire movie. The parts that were obviously 3-D would have been really cool and the parts that weren’t were so crisp that I don’t think 3-D would’ve ruined it.

Basically, this is a fantastic movie that everyone on your phone list would enjoy. Rated PG because it's just too good to be restrained by just one letter.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I plan to see it - in 3D! I loved your last line.