Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

By Michelle Welker Scott - FilmNut's good friend.

Hiccup is a teen-aged boy who lives in a place where, “it snows nine months of the year and hails the other three.” Berek Island, his home, is nearly uninhabitable. But one of the biggest challenges facing the Vikings who live there isn’t the weather or the terrible food. No, it’s the marauding dragons.

In order to keep their village safe, everyone on Berek Island slays dragons. Everyone, that is, but Hiccup.

In some ways, How to Train Your Dragon resembles another high-grossing film that recently came out. Think of it as Avatar lite. In both movies, the establishment fights against an unappreciated alien race until a single individual speaks out against the mindless slaughter. Like its Oscar-winning predecessor, How to Train Your Dragon is about questioning what others take for granted. It’s about opening your mind to new possibilities. It’s also about how utterly cool it would be to tame and ride a winged creature, be it dragon or mountain banshee.

Although this movie’s straightforward plot doesn’t offer many surprises, the animation is a marvel. From the spectacular scenes of soaring above the clouds on dragon’s wings to the final battle scene, How to Train Your Dragon is a visual wonder. Additionally, the character’s facial expressions and gestures are charmingly rendered. Toothless is a wonderfully expressive creature with mannerisms so realistic that any pet owner can surely identify. And the dragon’s relationship with Hiccup is as timeless as that between Travis and Old Yeller.

It’s nice to know that Hollywood finally got the memo: it’s okay to make a funny, family-oriented movie that will not only delight the kids but make the parents sit up and enjoy themselves as well.

1 comment:

fairyhedgehog said...

I enjoyed this too. Not as much as Avatar but then that was an outstanding film.