Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Movie Review - How to Train Your Dragon

All my friends know that I am a big fan of the animation genre. I like watching animation movies like anything. My favorites, till sometime back, used to be Japanese animation movies which were especially good because the characters were so well developed that you would feel as if you know the characters. The movies didn’t use to have all the special effects but the concept in itself was so pulling, and the shades of the characters (with more than occasional shades of gray) so very well defined that the movie in itself would pull the viewers in. Contrasting that with the most of the Hollywood animation movies of six years ago, the plot used to be very simple, predominantly fantasy fiction related (well isn’t that what animation is all about?) and the characters very “linear”. Most of the characters didn’t use to have any moral dilemma and things were pretty much black and white clear. More importantly, the movies used to have a fixed theme… be it the dream of a robot or plans of getting rich quick or some other similar theme. Contrasting it with Japanese movies where more than one concept used to be at work in an environment, and off the beaten track of theme such as androids (Astroboy came pretty late but there were others), Princess Mononoke, Sprited Away etc.

However, off late, Hollywood has also started to create animation wonders which have such wonderful script built into the storyline, and so very well developed characters, and definitely not following the beaten track on themes. Examples can be seen in movies such as WALL-E, UP, 9, Coraline etc. The latest offering which I liked a lot is the movie How to Train Your Dragon.

Over the years, we have all seen a wide variety of dragons in different series be it Eragon or Dragon Heart or something else. But, never has a dragon been portrayed to be in such a cute avatar with feline creatures. And as opposed to the beaten formula of Hollywood, the dragon doesn’t talk neither physically nor telepathically. :D. on the other hand, the awkwardness of protagonist, his earnest desire to be like his elders and his efforts to rise in the eyes of his father, who incidentally is also the clan chief; leave every one reminiscing about the good old days.

I won’t spoil the story for you in case any of you were planning to watch the movie. But if you are planning to, I will say go right ahead and watch this amazing piece of work for an amazing storyline and for it being a wonderful 85 minutes of movie right from the beginning of the movie with a narration from our protagonist Viking (Yes you read it right, A VIKING!), hiccup; till the last moment when all the main characters soar in sky and ending with “Dragons!” right from the moment that hiccup starts describing his world, you feel as if you are a part of the world. In fact, I found this one to be even more engaging that Avatar.

Like all great movies, How To Train Your Dragon has absolutely high quality animation and character development in addition to a generous dose of emotional angle. Not only does the relation between Hiccup and Toothless the dragon have funny and emotional moments; the story also boasts of a touching moments in a father-Son relation that will remind most of their own experiences in similar situations. And of course there is also a love angle, but only just, in the movies seeing as the main protagonist and others around him (except of course the elders) are in their early teens.

But I found the most engaging character of the story to be the Night fury dragon that has been shown in the looks of a panther and with such innocent expressions as befit a cat or a puppy. Rest of the dragons have been picturized in rather exaggerated colors, shapes and sizes.
One other aspect that I really liked was the realistic aspect in the movies. In the end, hiccup loses one of his foot. Now that’s a bit unconventional when it is thought of… but when you fight someone hundre thousand times your size, you are bound to have some injuries (unless of course you are Rajnikath… Then you can beat the big fella without even lifting your pinky and yet come out unruffled).

Of course there are several stories about son seeking approval of their fathers. But that’s not all about this movie, it also about how there are some things so profound that they force you to change your beliefs. How deep emotional relationships heed no boundary. Oooff… that was some heavy stuff wasn’t it?

Anyhow, if nothing else, I recommend you to watch the movie for sheer fun quotient, some really good dialogues and amazing visual appeal.


  1. Couldn't have come up with a better post even id I'd have tried to. I'd rate the movie as one of the best animes i have seen... and night fury just sort of develops on u.. the way they start acknowledging each other.. and yes.. the injury at the end was a nice twist :)

  2. yes the relation between the two was very well portrayed especially the initial hesitancy at the beginning of a relation and how well they begun to understand each other towards the end... The dialogue between the girl and hiccup when she thumps him and says "this is for kidnapping me" and kisses him and says "this is for everything else"... Or when hiccup says to his father "We are Vikings... Its an occupational hazard"

  3. For me this was the best animation movie ever until TOY STORY 3 took over it... :)

  4. @Arvind Singh

    I have not had the chance to view Toy Story 3 as yet... but I think that this will remain amongst my top 5 for a long time to come


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