Why didn’t they have toys like this when I was younger?
I love animated films. They never fail in returning me to a state of childhood innocence and awe, and ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ pulled out all the stops to ensure that by the end of the film, I was grinning from ear to ear. I’ve never wanted to own a dragon more so than I do now.
‘How To Train Your Dragon’ is about Hiccup, miniature Viking in the making, and his efforts to gain the recognition of his clan, and rise from the role of weaponsmith apprentice to, well, something that’s not a weaponsmith’s apprentice. Hiccup isn’t the burliest candidate to potentially become a hammer-swinging, axe-brandishing, dragon-slaying Norse warrior, which is much to his detriment. He’s a quirky chap who is picked on and belittled by the others in his clan, until he one day manages to track down an almost mythical Night Fury breed of dragon, and injure it with a catapult. When he confronts it, he finds that he cannot kill it, as is expected of him by his Viking brethren, and so begins a fantastical, magnificent journey to nurse this dragon back to health, train it, and uncover a vicious plot that has the power to redefine human-dragon relations. It sounds somewhat complex, but it really isn’t. I just can’t bear to spoil a second of this brilliant film, and want you to enjoy every fact and detail first-hand.
The film is brilliantly paced, with just the right amount of action, coupled with the right amount of comic relief and humour. It does a brilliant job of interspersing one with the other, always leaving you wanting more, but never so that it becomes an annoyance. The balance is just perfect, granting the film with the power to deliver both laugh-out-loud moments, but to also emotionally move you, and return you to that wonderful state of childlike innocence.
The animation is also fantastic. Specifically, mention must be made of the dragons themselves. It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into creating a whole host of these unique beasts. Each individual breed has its own differing abilities, strengths, weaknesses, and most importantly, lends the dragons their own unique personalities. Never will you have felt more attached to a collection of characters who remain effectively mute for the duration of the film, with the exception of grunts and body language. There is also an awful lot of expression in each of their eyes, which becomes a key component of how Hiccup and his dragon communicate.
I assure you it is no exaggeration when I say that it’s been a long time since I’ve been so thoroughly entertained in 90 minutes. This film made a kid of me again, genuinely. I laughed, I grinned, and I was brought close to tears. This is a truly fantastic film. See it.
‘How To Train Your Dragon’ is PG rated, and currently on general release. It can be seen in cinemas across the country in either 2D or 3D, but go and see it in 3D. Honestly, it’s worth the extra money.