Review: How To Train Your Dragon

Sometimes, a person just wants to watch some awesome 3D flying dragon sequences. If that is you, then you have come to the right movie, because How To Train Your Dragon is chock-full of awesome 3D flying dragon sequences. Normally, I would feel pretty negative about a movie whose soul reason for existence is some flying sequences, but this one is brisk and fun and well-made.

A village of vikings is constantly being attacked by dragons, and the improbable hero is a scrawny young boy named Hiccup. Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel)  astonishingly captured a dragon using a homemade bow-and-arrow-contraption and even more astonishingly was able to secretly tame and train the flying lizard. Soon the boy and the dragon, who he calls “Toothless,” become friends, and then Hiccup has the tough job of convincing every other villager that dragons are nice and they should stop fighting with them.

Hiccup has a parcel of young training mates: a nerd, a spineless bully, twins who are always bickering, and a tough young girl who is obviously the love interest. These training mates keep things breezy, but Hiccup’s dad is a bit of a downer. This is my main qualm with the entire movie. The father-son relationship brings a bit of unneeded melodrama into an otherwise lighthearted affair. The dad, Stoick (voiced by Gerard Butler), is a hefty successful viking who is disappointed in his son. He has many cliche and obviously manipulative  lines of dialogue throughout the movie, including “You’re not my son.” I mean, come on. Can it get any more generically melodramatic than that?

The flying scenes are outstanding. There was swooping, near misses, twirling, and just about every trick in the ocular book. I thought that I might get tired of them after awhile, but I didn’t; and it was impressive how long they held my two-year-old daughter’s attention. When it comes to the flying scenes, you’re really getting your money’s worth.

How To Train Your Dragon is a perfectly acceptable vehicle for abundant flying sequences. If you want more than that, good luck finding it. But if you are happy with nothing more than a bounty of visual dazzlement, then watch it already!

Two Fishbones out of Four

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