As someone who plays Dungeons and Dragons (yes I’m cool with 4th ed, in case anyone asks), I don’t think I could pass some a movie with dragons in it. I watched Eragon, Reign of Fire and yes even the D&D Movie. Thankfully I think How to Train your Dragon ranks up there in dragon movies (probably somewhere along the Reign of Fire/Dragonheart awesomeness scale, albeit with a G-rating slant).
How to Train your Dragon is like a coming of age story, mixed up with man’s best friend. Except this time, man’s best friend is a divebombing dragon that can fly up to supersonic speeds and spit purple-hot plasma. Seriously, how could anyone pass that up?
I’ll try not to spoil the story with plot and spoilers and what have you, so let’s just barely go over it. Hiccup is a Viking. Except he’s the most unviking viking you could have. Kind of like a geeky viking. A Grant Imahara of vikings. Where other vikings bellow at the sky and crack a boulder with a bash of their noggin, Hiccup would instead engineer a boulder bashing device, much to the chagrin of his father and chieftain and Dragon-Slayer extraordinaire, Stoic.
Hiccup proceeds to break all the rules of vikingdom, including befriending a dragon (the amazingly cute Toothless). Of course he manages to save the day, and eventually they all live happily ever after (well, mostly anyway).
But seriously, Toothless the dragon is able to straddle the border of being both awesome (having jet-fighter speeds and a shock-and-awe explosive breath) as well as being embarrassingly cute. In fact, he looks quite a bit like another supposedly-mean-but-actually-very-nice-monsteralien, Stitch.
Lookit their oval eyes, their ears akimbo, their nubby rounded teeth! He’s the cute puppy/kitten that you’ve always wanted. Except you know, he also has the firepower to level entire towns. Truly a boy’s (or a geek’s) best possible pet.
I suppose it’s to be expected. Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois were directors of both How to Train your Dragon, as well as Lilo and Stitch, and Chris Sanders also draws (or drew) Kiskaloo, a webcomic that has bit of that Calvin and Hobbes type dynamic. And they all have that recognizable ovally aesthetic that I’m a fan of.
While the plot could be argued to be pretty straightforward, I don’t think that should be counted as a strike. It’s got enough in-jokes to keep the adult viewer entertained, and there are even some RP-jokes thrown in. Hiccup also manages to do everything any role-playing geek wishes he could do; fly a dragon, have an epic battle and ride off into the sunset (girl in tow).
How to Train your Dragon targeted at the young (and young at heart). More importantly, it’s funny, it’s touching, and it’s got a lot of dragons.
And if you’ve watched the movie, how did you find it?