I was extremely skeptical about seeing HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON when it originally came. Nothing I saw in the trailer convinced me that it was going to be anything more than a cookie-cutter movie with dragons substituted for whatever the recent animal du jour was. I finally wound up seeing it well after its release at a special screening to promote the upcoming DVD/Blu-Ray. 

I have never been so wrong about a movie and I’m willing to admit it. 

I’m fortunate enough to go see a pre-release screening of the sequel with my kids tonight so I decided it would be fun for all of us to watch the original this afternoon as a refresher. 

The movie hasn’t lost any of its magic. It’s a delightful film with not only a thoroughly engaging storyline, but it explores some great themes, most especially about the need for teamwork and not always judging a book by its cover. 

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is the son of the Viking chief and he is a disaster when it comes not only to killing dragons, but living up to even the base the ideals of a Viking warrior. His father Stoick (Gerard Butler) has pretty much given up on him, but figures maybe some dragon-killing training might toughen the boy up. 

Though life throws Hiccup a curveball when he downs the worst of the worst dragon, only to discover that maybe these beasts are greatly misunderstood. Instead of killing the dragon (who he names “toothless”) he befriends him. Using his skills as a weapon-smith, Hiccup creates an artificial tail wing to replace the one that he was responsible for wounding. 

Boy and dragon soon bond, but it’s going to take a lot of convincing for the Vikings to see the dragons as friends and accept the fact that they’ve misjudged the beasts for centuries. 

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is charming from start to finish and suitable for all ages, especially adults. Like THE LEGO MOVIE, FROZEN and WRECK-IT RALPH, it personifies the best of the best of family entertainment. 

BTW: I saw it in 3D and it truly enhances the experience and stands as one of the best uses of the technology that I’ve seen since AVATAR.

JUNE 8, 2014


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