How would one train a dragon? Is it similar to training a dog or cat? Some would think it the most difficult, if not impossible, task to accomplish. Why? Because dragons are fire-breathing monsters; they ravage villages and kill any human that stands in their way.
But what if there is more to these monstrous beasts than meets the eye? What if they could become our pets? How to Train Your Dragon sheds a fun light on the creatures so often depicted as the villain in fairy tales.
Hiccup is a Viking. Well, by birth, he is. His slender frame and lack of strength would make anyone think otherwise, especially his father, who shows no pride in his son. Hiccup’s dad, the Viking chief, presides over a small village by the ocean. Instead of the typical insect pests that might bother a village like this, the people constantly battle a much larger pest – the dragon. As a rite of passage into the big, bad Viking world, slaying a dragon is a must.
After several failed attempts to kill a dragon, Hiccup ends up befriending one. Toothless, a night fury dragon, is more than the killer stereotype bestowed upon him. Throughout the rest of the film, Hiccup fights to preserve dragonkind while trying to earn the approval he desperately seeks from his father.
For being born in the time of the Vikings, Hiccup is pretty modern. He lacks the accent of his elders and is more of an inventor than a fighter. He is also quite hilarious. Although no one takes him seriously, he brings major change.
Within the film, two major themes are easily seen. In fact, they are pretty common themes in the world of animated films.
The first one identifies the need for approval. Many can relate to Hiccup – he really wants people to like him. More importantly, he wants to make his father proud. Even though earning his peers’ approval is not first on his list, he definitely goes to great lengths to honor the family name.
The other theme prevalent in the film deals with being judgmental. On several occasions, Hiccup attempts to relay the message that the dragons are no different from his people. Even though they may look frightening, they act only in defense, just as the Vikings do.
Overall, I thought the movie was entertaining; it was funny and packed with fiery action. The detail of the animation was excellent and seeing it in 3-D enhanced the in-your-face elements in the film.