How to train your dragon

Gordana Andjelic-Davila

A clumsy teenage Viking whose only wish is to grow into a big and tough dragon slayer, befriends a young dragon and learns that there might be more to this creature, than what he had been lead to believe.
How to train your dragon
From the moment I first watched the trailer of the children's book, film adaptation of How to train your dragon I was hooked. Normally I am not easily mesmerized by the ‘sweet song of the trailer sirens’, but this time I must have had my guard down, because I was as excited by the release date of this animated flick from Dream Works as were my children. It seems my gut instinct was right, because this is one fabulous movie. The story begins with the introduction of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), a not so popular and scrawny teenage Viking living on the small island which happens to be the target of pillaging and looting… no, not other Vikings but… dragons. A plethora of flying, fire spitting, scaly creatures, who attack on a daily basis. During one such attack – though discouraged from even venturing out of the house, due to his calamitous clumsiness – Hiccup manages to shoot down the Night Fury, the most dangerous of all dragons. The beast falls from the sky into the woods, and though Hiccup eagerly shares his achievement with the rest of the villagers, no one believes him. The following day, he goes off into the woods to find the dragon, kill it and bring back proof of his courageous act. Hiccup is not known for his bravery, and this is a thorn in Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), the big bearded village leader, who has slain many-a-dragon… also Hicupp’s father. Everything about his son is a disappointment to Stoick. Hiccup is the exact opposite of his father. While Stoick, ventures off to find the dragons’ nest to destroy it, he leaves his son behind in the care of the blacksmith, who is also the trainer at the island’s dragon slaying school. Hiccup is no match to the other teens participating in the training. They are all significantly bigger and definitely more aggressive than he. Even the girl Hiccup is sweet on – Astrid (America Ferrera) – is tougher than he. Though at first this underdog seems doomed in his journey of becoming a dragon slayer, via the experiences he lives with the Night Fury (now nicknamed Toothless) he gains a ‘magic touch’ with the dragons used in the training of the young fighters. The friendship Hiccup shares with Toothless is a forbidden one. The villagers would not approve (and don’t once it comes out in the open) of the strange alliance between one of their own, and a fire breathing deadly creature like Toothless. This is a familiar story, in movies and in history books. “You don’t know him like I do” can now be applied to How to train your dragon as well. It was a good way of addressing the subject of tolerance (yet again) via the cartoon with my children. Aside the lovely message about ‘we are all the same, no matter how different’ How to train your dragon is also a beautiful digital animation, with textures and details which are truly breathtaking. Throughout most of the film, I wished that I had some of my designer friends next to me to share in my amasement… my kids got sick of me leaning over to them, and expressing my excitement about the rendering of the characters to them. How to train your dragon is an extremely well crafted animated film, which is sure to entertain the whole family. I highly recommend it. You don’t have to take a child to the cinema to be able to enjoy it… even if you go on your own, you won’t regret it. How to train your dragon Melbourne IMAX Official website Film Run Time: 97 mins Rating: PG Directors: Dean DeBlois; Chris Sanders Writers: Cressida Cowell (based on the novel by); Dean DeBlois (screenplay) Genre: Animation | Adventure | Comedy | Family | Fantasy

About the author

Gordana Andjelic-Davila is an Arts Hub contributor based in Melbourne. Find her on Twitter @flyinggondola