“How to Train Your Dragon” – something everybody would want to learn, especially if one could train a Night Fury. Set in the mythical world of muscular Vikings and almighty dragons, this animated comedic action movie narrates about how the unlikely friendship between a Viking teenager, Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and a dragon changes his life (Dragon, 2010).
The main setting of this movie is the island Berk, home of the Viking warriors for seven generations. They are tough and every one of them is dedicated to one thing; killing the evil, destructive dragons which would raid their food and burn their buildings every now and then. It does not take us very long to learn that Hiccup does not exactly fit in with his heroic dragon slayers clan. Quote his dad, Stoick the Vast (Gerald Butler) who is also the Viking chief, “from the moment he could crawl, Hiccup has been different” (Dragon, 2010). In our modern era, Hiccup would probably lead an Internet-start up or even be the next Steve Jobs (Sharkey, 2010). Unfortunately, in the world that clearly values brawn over brain, Hiccup’s intelligence and sharp observations have no place in his society.
The directing team of “How to Train Your Dragon”, Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, who have also shaped “Lilo and Stitch” and “Mulan” amazingly, sure know how to tell a great animated action film. The spectacular opening salvo between the dragons and Vikings that follows after immediately let the audiences understand the strained relationship the former two share all these years (Sharkey, 2010).
Ten minutes into the movie, DeBlois and Sanders have told us all we need to know to get the real plot going. Being the outcast is difficult. Hiccup has it even more so being the son of the Viking chief. Even so, when Hiccup gets the chance to make his mark, he just discards it. Any Viking would have just killed a wounded Night Fury to be listed as the legend of their tribe, but not our hero. Instead, Hiccup’s sincerity and persistence help him gain the trust of this rarest and most intelligent species of all dragons (Dragon, 2010). Through Hiccup, the film passes the message that fists are not always the best solution to saving the day (Sharkey, 2010). Hiccup’s willingness to take the first step to learn about dragons marks the starting point of the eventual cease fire between Vikings and dragons where both could co-exist in a utopia at the end of the movie.
The other characters stand out in their own way too. There are the five Viking recruits who train along with Hiccup so they could eventually take over their parents’ rein in protecting the village. Although they disapprove of Hiccup at first, just like the rest of the village, these six young Vikings make a great team with Hiccup as the leader. Gobber (Craig Ferguson) is their mentor who would actually...