Science fiction and fantasy
How To Train Your Dragon
directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
Then one day Hiccup finds a lone dragon in the woods. He's supposed to kill it, because that's what Vikings do and anyway the dragons are a plague on the village, carrying off livestock and occasionally eating people. However Hiccup isn't cut out for slaying. Instead he studies the creature and attempts to gain its trust.
Back in the village Hiccup is thrust into dragon training in the company of people his age. He has to survive a series of tests against all manner of dragon species. But the worst is yet to come, because the winner gets the dubious honour of killing a dragon in front of the whole village. But his friends are starting to get suspicious about his long absences and his uncanny knowledge about dragons.
This is a cute, predictable story about an odd boy who uses brains rather than brawn to get over his problems. He gets help from the blacksmith Gobber (Craig Ferguson). Gobber has lost an arm and a leg, and he's one of a few characters who portray disability in a positive light.
It's the physically capable characters who end up caricatures of the dumb jock stereotype. Stoic is supposed to be the model of the Viking ideal, and he's also their leader, so he fits this stereotype more than most. He's fearless and strong, but definitely not a thinker. Hiccup's young friends are also as dim as deep caves, with the exception of Astrid (America Ferrera). Their bumbling foolishness is the source of some of the movie's humour, and it's quite oversimplified. However to its credit How To Train Your Dragon is spiced up with some witty dialogue.
This is an enjoyable movie with bright, colourful visuals, a cheery moral and plenty of family-friendly thrills and spills. Hiccup and Toothless are accessible and engaging, and should appeal to a young audience. If you can stomach the relentlessly feelgood tone and the conformists-are-idiots subtext it's pleasant enough entertainment.
19th December 2010
If you like this, try:Brave by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell
In a fantasy Scotland full of bears, kilts, and haggis, Princess Merida fights for the right to decide her own fate.
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Shrek The Third by Chris Miller
The grumpy green ogre faces his biggest challenge yet: fatherhood.
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