Ever since I saw the trailer for How To Train Your Dragon back in January when watching Avatar (the trailer was 3D too), I couldn’t wait for it. The trailer said that it would be released on March 19th. The date came and passed but the movie never came up in any cinema halls here. It finally reached India on April 16th and I finally got to see it about five days later on April 21st.
It was sort-of a kids day out where I took my cousin brother (the eleven year old Husain) and few other kids along with my wife and a friend. We started our little trip at a McDonald’s outlet and then we went to the cinema for the movie. We went to the Inox Cinema in Garuda Mall, Magrath Road. Now that particular theater is not my favourite but that was the only place where the movie ran in 3D. It did run in PVR too (which is a lot closer to my home) but the 3D there is very expensive (about five times as expensive).
We reached the mall just in time for the movie. We had to park in a really smelly slot in the underground basement and we rushed upstairs in the elevator. It is an altogether different experience going with five little kids aged between 4 to 12 in an orderly fashion. It was still better than the McDonald’s where I had to run chasing the kids as they go running into different stores and sections. Anyway, I already had booked the tickets earlier and we just had to enter the auditorium. I just bought eight pairs of glasses and we were in the cinema hall.
As it turned out, we were just a little bit late for the movie. I guess we missed the opening monologue where Hiccup is introducing us to his island. If I remember correctly, I got in the part where the dragons attack the village at night and Hiccup is showing off his “invention” to his dad. I was not settled then yet, I had to make sure all the five kids got their glasses and were seated properly with us adults sitting on both corners of the groups. It was fun to watch this kids: I enjoyed the movie more watching the kids enjoy it.
Fair Warning: Possible spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.
This movie was all that I hoped it to be. It was not long, was funny for adults and kids, was fun to watch and showed subtle points you would want to emphasize to your kids when you tell them stories or fairy tales. The story does not have a lot of twists and turns, which is how it normally is for a kids’ movie. The plot moves straight ahead and it is fairly predictable. It is a good watch overall and the 3D experience added to the value.
The movie starts with the Viking village under attack from a group of Dragons. The Vikings, brave and fierce as they are, try to fight them off. It is a custom amongst them that a Viking grows up to be a Dragon fighter and slayer and every Viking kid grows up to be one. Every Viking kid, except our protagonist – Hiccup.
Hiccup dreams of fighting dragons as all Viking kids do, but he causes more trouble along the way due to his clumsy nature. His dream, however, is to capture the most dangerous dragon they have never yet seen – The Night Fury and he makes sure nothing stops him. He captures the dragon alright but cannot kill and that is where our story starts.
Hiccup releases the dragon and the dragon, in turn, attempts to kill him. Just like Hiccup, the dragon does not kill too and flies away. They meet again and develop a bond. This bond continues throughout the movie with a special focus on how they are similar. The similarity is shown until the very ending of the movie. Toothless, a tiny (comparatively), tame-looking, not so dangerous dragon is actually very powerful when in a fight; what with his black colour that is hidden in the night sky, insane speed and fire missiles. Similarly, Hiccup proves himself an unusual Viking who was the “first Viking in 300 years to not kill dragons” but “the first Viking to ride one”.
The story is as good as most animated movies that have come out in recent years. You get to see compassion, team-work, bravery, courage and nerve in the story; all of which forms an important part of a balanced diet for a kid’s entertainment. The characters are well presented and the story does not get boring or drag too much. I found the duration of each of the sequences quite reasonable. This makes it a very good watch for an adult too. Of course, the entire theme of the story is to go against stereotyping and I feel this makes it as worthwhile to adults too.
I guess it was the 3D experience but the animation and graphics were a bit crude in some of the scenes. If anything, the characters looked and moved like puppets rather than the smooth motion we have come to expect in such movies. I am not sure if I describe this correctly. You might have to watch it with polarized 3D setup to experience the same thing. Either way, I think 3D technology still needs some work in these areas.
Overall, the movie was a good watch and I would watch it again if I got a chance. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Please leave your thoughts in comments.