HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
98 minutes approx
Written by -
Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders
Directed by -
Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders
The most northerly town of Vikings, called Buerk (and yes, that is pronounced 'berk') is plagued by dragons. Most people would just leave, but Vikings (we learn from Hiccup) have stubborness issues. Hiccup is a poor viking. Lacking in brawn and possessed of an overimaginative brain that leads to dragon-fighting inventions that invariably do more harm than the dragons themselves, he is the laughing stock of the village, much to the chagrin of the village chieftan, who also happens to be his father. Then, one of his inventions downs a Night Fury, the most dangerous of dragons, but Hiccup cannot bring himself to kill the helpless creature. Instead, he befriends it, teaches it to fly again and learns why the dragons constantly raid the village.
Which is when it all goes disastrously wrong.
There's not all that much about HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON that is original, but there is an awful lot about it that is fun. The cetnral relationship between a boy and his dragon has room enough in it to be difficult at times (Toothless, the dragon's response to Hiccup's girl for example) whilst still travelling a well-worn groove of initial distrust to tolerance to acceptance to sacrifice. Pick any story about a boy and his pet and it will be pretty much along the same sort of lines.
Hiccup's relationship with his father is equally unoriginal and closely resembles that of the little seen German animation 'Wicki the Viking', but could come from any number of coming of age films where father and son struggle to find understanding.
This, though, is not a stodgy look at the trials and tribulations of childhood, though. First and foremost, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is a rollercoaster ride of a film right from the opening dragon assault on the village through the first dragon ride,t he duels in the arena of dragon training, the massing of the dragons and the genuinely tense and exciting final battle. The film even has the bottle to make sure that not everyone comes through it unscathed. The action is fast and frenetic, though not to the point of losing track of what is happening and that climax has action and danger and tension and triumph in spades. Many live action films would kill for all of that.
The supporting characters are funny when they ought to be, though why they all talk like they come from the highlands of Scotland rather than from the lands of the fjords remains a mystery. The story breezeas along at a snappy pace with never a dull moment to be found.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is great fun for kids and adults alike, so grab the little ones and head on down to the cinema now. If you don't have kids of your own then borrow someone else's for the trip. It's worth it.Top
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