I just got back from a viewing of How to Train Your Dragon (wiki) with my friend and little sister. I knew nothing about the film before watching it (aside from watching a preview before seeing Alice the other day), and I only learned afterward that it was based on the first in a series of books.
Overall, it was a feel-good movie, and better than I expected. I guess I tend to go to the movies with low expectations so that I’m not disappointed—and I’m not—but I’m also not usually impressed, either. Sad for the movie industry, I think, but they probably don’t care as long as I pay to watch their films, right? Right.
The movie follows Hiccup, the gangly son of the Viking chief, in the mythical village of Berk. He has a weird sense of humor and thinks ahead instead of charging into situations blindly, like most Vikings tend to do. When he encounters a dragon up close, he learns that everything he’s been taught about the species is wrong. He uses what he learns from the dragon, who eventually becomes his friend, to overcome obstacles he faces while learning to fight dragons with his cohorts—not really friends until later because at first they all think he’s weak and a disgrace to Vikings. In the end, though, he challenges the rest of the village to see the world from a different point of view and even saves the tribe in the process.
The one thing that was difficult for me to believe (after my suspension of disbelief and all that) was that it didn’t take longer for the kids to “train” their dragons after it’d taken most of the movie for Hiccup to get to know his and get the dragon to trust him. Other than that weak spot, it was pretty good.
Anyway, the music was good—kind of Celtic-esque (I liked it so much that I picked up the soundtrack from iTunes). Add to that a pretty decent “everything you know is wrong” story and mix in a little “coming of age” and some pretty awesome graphics and you have yourself a good show.
Even my sister liked it, and she’s a film major, so that’s saying something.