Monday, March 11, 2019

Movie Review: "How to Train Your Dragon" (2010)

How To Train Your Dragon 2010 Dreamworks movie poster
Image Source
Movie"How to Train Your Dragon"
Director: Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders
Year: 2010
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

A young Viking befriends an injured dragon, and in the process, learns more about these creatures his village hates so much. His new understanding may help put an end to his village's conflict with dragons, that is, if his father will listen to reason.

How to Train Your Dragon 2010 movie Gerard Butler fighting dragon
" Look the point is, stop trying so hard to be something you're not!" (Image Source)
It's always so nice when our expectations are shattered for the better. "How to Train Your Dragon" is a Dreamworks animated feature directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, who previously worked together on the Disney film "Lilo and Stich." The story takes place in a small coastal Viking town known as Berk. It would be a great place to live except for one small thing: it has a pesky dragon problem! Berk is under the constant threat of dragon attacks, and the children of Berk are raised their whole lives to hunt and kill dragons. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), the son of Stoic (Gerard Butler), chief of the Vikings, is a little different than the rest of the kids in town. Hiccup is physically smaller and much timider than the other children, but he has a knack for inventing machines, though they don't always work the way he wants them to and often cause chaos for anyone in his general vicinity. One of his machines just so happens to work during a dragon raid, and he uses it to bring down one of the most feared dragons - the deadly "Night Fury." Of course, no one believes that Hiccup *actually* got a Night Fury, so he goes out to find and kill the creature. Hiccup then does what no other Viking has done before: he lets the beast live and is surprised to find out that they aren't the mindless killing machines he was raised to believe they were. Hiccup and the Night Fury, which he affectionately names Toothless, become friends, and he learns how to train him through a mutual understanding. Hiccup must now find a way to convince his father and all the other Vikings that they have been wrong about dragons this entire time. Hiccup decides to prove his worth by completing his dragon training so the people of Berk will listen to him.
How to Train Your Dragon movie still Jay Baruchel America Ferrera Hiccup and Astrid flying on Toothless
"Three hundred years, and I'm the first Viking who wouldn't kill a dragon!" (Image Source)
When we first saw "How to Train Your Dragon" almost ten years ago, we were skeptical going into it and figured it'd be just another cheesy kids movie full of fart jokes. Oh, were we wrong! This movie is so much fun! It is gorgeous to look at, and we love all of the little details that went into creating the village of Berk and the various dragons the Berkian people encounter. It is a well written and well-told story that is immensely entertaining. It is something that can be enjoyed by younger kids and the adults that watch it with them. The kids who see it will enjoy the dragons and their house pet-type mannerisms, and the adults will love the jokes that were written with older viewers in mind. Though it is an animated film, the story conveys many important messages that will leave a lasting impression on everyone who watches it, especially the adults in the crowd. The father-son dynamic and its other more mature themes are sure to keep parents a little misty-eyed. This film shows that people don't have to be the strongest physically to become leaders. Being smart, patient, and understanding are equally if not more important than being big and strong. Hiccup is perceived as weak because he is scrawny and does not want to fight and kill dragons, but in the end, his patience, his mindset, and his gentle nature while training Toothless are what make him a noble leader and give him an advantage while completing his dragon training. Another compelling message is about conflict and how it often stems from a mutual misunderstanding between two parties. It shows how it takes just one person to change the mindset of many and how people should resolve to find common ground for the greater good. Hiccup and Stoic don't always see eye to eye. Hiccup knows he doesn't want to kill dragons and tries to tell his dad the truth, but Stoic doesn't always listen to his son because he fears what change might bring to his village. Another important theme is about communication and how people shouldn't be hesitant or afraid to listen to youngins. Hiccup's relentless affirmation that dragons are not monsters is what may allow Berk to move towards a new age of enlightenment. Understanding that dragons are not evil would allow Berkians to put their past violent traditions aside to make a better future for everyone.
How to Train Your Dragon 2010 movie still Hiccup
"Everything we know about you guys is wrong." (Image Source)
"How to Train Your Dragon" is a heartwarming tale with fabulous animation, terrific voiceover work, and a couple of great messages. It is Dreamworks's best films since "Sherk." We love this movie so, so much.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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