Review: How to Train Your Dragon

The protagonist of How to Train Your Dragon is a typical scrawny kid who rejects his society's expectations to save the day. While trying to fit in with his culture's values of strength, dragon-killing, family honor and fitting in, young Hiccup creates a second life when he accidentally-on-purpose befriends an injured dragon. Hiccup must prove himself worthy of being a Viking by killing dragons, but everything goes wrong when his secret pet is discovered: his village goes to exterminate all the dragons on the island, and Hiccup and his sassy girlfriend save the day in a climactic battle.

How to Train Your Dragon's be-yourself message is achieved in a rather boring and deeply unoriginal manner. The plot goes up when it needs to and becomes angsty when it must, throws in some ever-necessary romance, and ultimately climaxes in a cliched boss fight. The score, for all of its pleasing soundscapes, is as vanilla as the rest of the movie; jokes produce a few chuckles and eyerolls. The animation is quality and is meant to have a cartoon feel that does works well with the light, childish atmosphere of the film. Hiccup himself is a boringly awkward character whose personality, in its courageous and endearing glory, is nothing the audience has not seen before; his girlfriend Astrid is predictably kickass and sidelined; Hiccup's father disowns his son in favor of traditional Viking values. Hiccup's dragon Toothless is a fine summation of How to Train Your Dragon: cute and fierce at first glance, but ultimately nothing special.

Hiccup feeding Toothless


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