How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon PosterI’m not a huge fan of Dreamworks. Nothing personal, but none of their films have really interested me. I’ve only seen two, so I’m not working off of much, but the first one I watched (Over the Hedge, for any of you who are wondering) was a waste of time. So, while I was looking forward to watching How to Train Your Dragon, my expectations weren’t very high. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

However low my expectations were, I was pleasantly surprised. The story was interesting, though not as good as most Pixar films, and the quality of the animation wasn’t bad, despite the highly stylized people.

 

The Story

The film is set in a Viking village with a serious pest: dragons! The dragons have an inconvenient habit of attacking the village at night and carrying of the village’s food supply. The villagers fight back, attempting to kill as many dragons as possible. The young hero of the film, Hiccup, attempts to help fight dragons, but is told to stay inside and out of the way, despite this, he runs out and joins in the fight, and even manages to shoot down one of the most dangerous of all the dragons!

Unfortunately, no one believes him when he claims to have done it, so, the next morning, yet set out to find and kill his dragon.

To cut a long story short, instead of killing the dragon, he befriends it, and finds out that everything his village knows about dragons is wrong. In the end, the village finds out that Hiccup was right, they are able to set free the enslaved dragons, and everybody lives happily ever after.

 

The Bad

The story is set in a pagan viking culture, which poses some obvious problems. There are multiple reference to praying to the viking gods, which, as Christians, we know to be wrong.

At the beginning of the film, the son’s relationship with his father is very poor, with multiple instances of disrespectfulness, which the film usually portrays in a humorous light. Fortunately, this relationship improves toward the end of the film, giving the impression that the father and son will grow closer as time passes. The relationships between the “teenage” vikings also is rather poor, though in the end, they too work together for the good of the village.

There are also a couple of sexual innuendos and a few kisses between the hero and heroine.

 

The Good

The entire theme of the story was redemption. The viking’s need was to stop the raids from the dragons, which could only be accomplished by freeing (or redeeming) the dragons from the even bigger dragon that enslaved them. The story also dealt with motives, and the need to have good ones. At the beginning of the story, the vikings kill dragons because they “are vikings, and that’s what vikings do.” Hiccup is the first person to stop and think about whether or not that was really a good enough reason to kill them, and in the end, they find out it’s not.

The film also provides an example, albeit a rather poor one, of a father and son growing closer as the work together towards a common goal.

 

Conclusion

While the story was enjoyable, it does have some major problems. This film is only suitable for discerning audiences, and I can’t say it’s high up on my list of recommended films to watch.

As a side note, I want to thank and credit my dad for helping me review this film. Much of what you see written above are his observations, which I have plagiarized for the purpose of this review.

Thanks Dad!

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