Tuesday, April 6, 2010


By D.E.Levine

Directors: Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders
Writers: Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders (screenplay); Cressida Cowell (novel)
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, l T.J.Miller, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Robin Atkins Downes, Phillip McGrade, Kieron Elliott and Ashley Jensen
Producer: Bonnie Arnold
Executive Producers: Kristine Belson and Tim Johnson
Co-producer: Michael A. Connolly
Original Music: John Powell
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Country of origin: United States
Language: English (with Scottish brogue)
Genre: 3D, Animation, Action, Fantasy

How To Train Your Dragon is a wonderful, action packed 3-D animated action film. The Viking inhabitants of the North Atlantic island of Berk speak with distinct Scottish brogues and the background music is Irish/Celtic.

The island is constantly being attacked by dragons and subsequently the Viking warriors "earn their stripes" by fighting and slaying these dragons.

Besides the soaring emotion and empathy one feels for the young boy Hiccup. this wonderful film tells the universal morale of how looks and reputation can be misleading.

Hiccup is a brainy, scrawny, clumpsy kid whose father happens to be the Viking leader of Berk. Dad, Stoick, is a strong, muscular Viking warrior who is very disappointed that Hiccup is a soft-hearted, bookish inventive type.

Hiccup is definitely not your typical Viking warrior and has concentrated on inventing an apparatus that will slay dragons. Yet, hiccup yearns to become a dragon slayer and fit in with his adolescent peers.

The island is continually besieged by dragons. A "coming of age" rite involves young Vikings (male and female) proving themselves by going through dragon slaying training and then slaying a dragon.

Despite his eagerness to begin training, Stoick fears that Hiccup is too gentle to qualify as a dragon slayer.

When Hiccup's invention wounds a dragon and he finds it in the woods, Hiccup finds himself unable to terminate the wounded dragon.

It's at this moment that Hiccup realizes it's not his nature to be a killer - even in defense of his own life.

Instead of killing the dragon whom he names Toothless, Hiccup hides and secretly helps him and in doing so learns about dragons, about life, about love and about himself.

Genuine affection and respect grow between the boy and the dragon and both demonstrate an ability to place the welfare of others before themselves.

Stoick is willing to sacrifice his only child in order for him to prove his manhood. And, Hiccup attempts to live up to his father's expectations because he loves and respects him.

While learning about Toothless and the other dragons on the island, Hiccup makes a saddle and rides Toothless, soaring over the mountains and the sea in Dreamworks 3D animation that leaves the viewer breathless.

And what Hiccup learns and teaches the others is that dragons are not to be feared because they are terrorizing the Vikings under duress. By banding together and destroying the source of evil, men and dragons can live harmoniously and peacefully together.

Before you know it, 98 minutes are over and the film has ended imparting its lessons and morales which are just as applicable to the modern viewing audience as they are to the ancient Vikings and dragons.