I wanted to see How to Train Your Dragon in theaters, but somehow that never happened (most likely because none of my family or friends wanted to see it). Long story, short: I loved the movie. The animations are awesome and the characters each have their own unique, and rather hilarious, personalities.
The film’s protagonist is Hiccup, a skinny misfit who longs to hunt dragons and make his brawny Viking father, Stoick the Vast, proud. Even though the plight of the misfit is often used in cartoons, How to Train Your Dragon makes it fresh. The use of an unknown island near the North Pole, Vikings, and dragons hardly sounds funny and relatable, but this film uses them well. Hiccup’s small stature leads to many laughs as he obviously is the odd guy out in a village of Vikings. Jay Baruchel does a great job; his monotone voice makes Hiccup’s dead-pan humor and sarcastic comments much funnier.
The dragons are amazing in this movie as well. I liked that they each have their own distinct look and personality. Toothless, the dragon that Hiccup befriends, is equal parts scary and cuddly. When Hiccup initially tries to kill Toothless, he looks into his eyes and sees them widen in fear, causing him to free the dragon. This scene is surprising powerful; I genuinely felt both Hiccup’s and Toothless’s fear. I also appreciated the realism in the development of their relationship; it’s gradual and improves over time. The scenes were Hiccup teaches him how to fly are adorable. When he takes Astrid, a headstrong aspiring warrior and his love interest, on a ride on Toothless’s back, it is wonderfully reminiscent of the carpet ride in Aladdin. Astrid’s feelings quickly turn from annoyance to like. Clearly all girls have a soft spot for moonlight rides through the air.
The message in How to Train Your Dragon is what I like the most. Besides the obvious that parents should accept and love their children for their uniqueness, this film also makes an important point about assumptions. Hiccup and his entire village discover that dragons are not the evil merciless creatures they presumed they were, and even go so far as to take them on as pets. This movie does an excellent job of showing how easy it is to end years of discrimination and misinformation by simply having an open mind.