Editor’s Note: As the holiday season kicks in, it’s also a great time to pick up the hot movies of the season as well. Resident movie critic Ken Henderson will be here throughout the month to review movies, offer up favorites and more. He’s here today reviewing one of the hottest animated films of the year. Enjoy.
Most kids, when they first learn about dragons think of them as fierce and terrible creatures. I know I did spending the majority of my life playing Dungeons and Dragons hoping that one day, one day my character would gain enough experience, weaponry, magic and hit-points to take on a dragon. Alas… when that fateful moment came I rolled a natural one and all I had left of my character were his amassed riches and one toe bone. Well, with the new film “How To Train Your Dragon” not only has DreamWorks flipped that entire premise on its head, it’s rolled a natural 20 in doing so.
Film summary from Dreamworks: “Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, and based on the book by Cressida Cowell, the action comedy tells the story of Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn’t exactly fit in with his tribe’s longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. Hiccup’s world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges he and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view.”
Hiccup is the awkward and A-typical Viking son of the tribes Leader who continually fails to live up to his fathers heroic image and exploits which primarily focus on protecting the village from hordes of dragons on a weekly basis. Hiccup is a misfit who’s skills lie in the blacksmith shop where he forges weapons and armour for the ‘real’ Vikings in the village. Hiccup longs to garner his fathers favor and uses his smithing skills to create a weapon that he thinks will solve all of his problems.
If he’s too small to take a dragon down with a sword he’ll do it with his a weapon of his own invention. During yet another attack Hiccup decides to finally try it out, and not just on any dragon… but a NightFury. The most fierce and feared of all dragons. Hiccup, much to his surprise, downs the dragon but in the dead of night which leaves no evidence for him to show off his conquered bounty. His father ignores his proclamations of triumph and Hiccup is left to spend one more night unworthy in those big, burly eyes.
In the morning Hiccup set’s out to find the NightFury so he can bring his trophy back to the village and erase, once and for all, the inadequacies and shortcomings that his father sees in him. As an added bonus, he thinks it may help him get girls to like him as well. Hiccup finally finds the damage trail in the forest that leads him to the NightFury but, it’s not dead. Hiccup is determined to bring a trophy home but, in the end, he cannot kill the dragon. What follows is a magical journey of discovery, friendship and triumph over ignorance that completely flips the tribes view of dragons and their own lifestyle.
The film is wonderfully directed and succeeds in transporting you to Hiccups world. It is centered on Hiccup’s relationship with his dragon and in every instance, every scenario the film finds that center again and again. It is that story, that friendship that holds the film together and keeps the audience there for the ride. The visuals are perfectly suited to the genre with engaging character designs, wonderfully inventive creatures, wild landscapes and breathtaking vistas that are shown off beautifully in 3D.
The flying sequences, especially Hiccup’s initial flight is awe inspiring. All in all it works on every level and the bonus is that the conflicts, when they come, are minimal and handled as if they were made for TreeHouse TV. Nothing overtly violent, nothing gratuitous or over-the-top… perfectly suited for all ages. There are a few slightly tense/scary parts but nothing that should give the little ones nightmares.
A magical film full of wonder and discovery with, of course, a life lesson attached. A lesson that had I learned all those years ago would have made me rethink 7 years of bad pizza, pop and late night D&D quests. Granted, like Hiccup… I never did slay a dragon.
4 BIG Our Big Earths for this one.
Starring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera.
Directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois.
DVD or Blueray (2D or 3D)
Run Time: 98 minutes
About the Author (Author Profile)From time to time friends and neighbours around the community drop by to share ideas, trade stories and offer up their wisdom – joining us as guest columnists here at Our Big Earth.
Sites That Link to this Post
- OBE's Top 5 Animated Family Movies of 2010 | Our Big Earth | December 18, 2010