I’ll be the first to admit that I am a huge fan of the Fantasy genre. I love fantasy books, fantasy movies and anything related to magic, dragons and worlds filled with all kinds of different species of humanoid people. From the world of Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter’s realm, I love visiting these new places and watching or reading the possibilities unfold. There have not been many forays into the fantasy world when it comes to animated movies. I can only think of “The Last Unicorn”, “Quest for Camelot”, and “The Black Cauldron”, however now there is “How to Train your Dragon” that can be added to this list of fantasy animated films. After seeing it, I think it is one of the best fantasy films that I have seen.
Our story begins by introducing us to a small Viking village that is constantly bombarded by dragons searching for food and reeking havoc on the populace. We meet our hero, Hiccup, running about the village trying to help in any way he can to stop the dragons attack. You see, he is not your typical Viking. He’s a teenager that is small and puny in comparison to all of the large, manly, well muscled Vikings. He is also the son of the Viking leader, Stoik the Vast. Hiccup realizes that dragon slaying is probably not going to be his chosen profession; however, he has tried making a weapon to help in capturing the dragons. When he fires his weapon at a dragon, he actually manages to hit it and the dragon goes down in the woods. So, Hiccup goes in search of the dragon he brought down so that he may kill it and bring it back to his father to prove his manhood.
When he finds the dragon, it seems that Hiccup’s weapon took out part of his tail fin and therefore the dragon can’t fly and is trapped in a canyon. Hiccup goes to help the flightless dragon and this is where the story really begins and their friendship gets its start. We find out that the dragons are only attacking the village for other reasons than the villagers thought and they decide to join forces to help each other out. This movie deals with some great issues for children to learn more about and for parents to discuss with their kids. It brings up the issues of bullying, not being scared if you are different from others, that handicaps are nothing to be ashamed of, and that someone that appears to be your enemy could turn into your best friend. The best animated movies to me are not just ones that entertain you and your kids, but ones that have messages that parents can discuss with their children and that give you something to think about as you’re leaving the theater. This movie is exactly that.
I saw this presentation in 3D and quite enjoyed the experience. I think the animation genre of films lends itself perfectly to the 3D revolution currently going on right now. The 3D helps to immerse the audience into a film that might otherwise seem too one dimensional on the screen. It really heightened the excitement in the flying scenes and made you feeling like you were flying yourself. Try to see this movie in 3D if you are able but if not, treat yourself and your kids to a creative, thoughtful, fun and soon to be classic animated film.