March 29, 2010
Family Film Blogging: How to Train Your Dragon
Posted by Christine Hurt

Our last hurrah of Spring Break was taking all three kids to see How to Train Your Dragon.  We saw it in 2D, not because we're cheap, but because the 2 1/2 year old won't keep the glasses on.  So, staring at a semi-fuzzy screen does not hold a toddler's attention for long.  We have come into a difficult part of parenting -- choosing movies to satisfy children from toddler to middle school.  Not easy.  However, this choice was a hit.

Of course, the plot is not particularly novel.  I don't consider this a great criteria for kids' movies -- they haven't seen a lot of movies, so what's novel to them may not be what's novel to me.  I remember learning in 8th grade that there are only about three or four basic plots anyway (man v. man; man v. nature; man v. himself, others?).  For kid's movies, there are definitely repeat plots.  Dragon is at the intersection of two of them:  (1) Imaginative and sensitive son who can't live up to overly macho-dad's expectations (see, e.g., Billy Elliott and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) and (2) boy with secret pet (see, e.g., E.T. and The Water Horse).  Our hero, Hiccup, is a scrawny Viking and son of the most fearsome Viking in his village.  The father's name is Stoick, and the name fits.  To win the love of his father, Hiccup most become a fearless dragon-hunter in a village that is raided periodically by hordes of flying dragons.  However, along the way he rescues a dragon and learns how to "best" a dragon by throwing down arms and petting the dragon.  Of course, it takes awhile (at least a few minutes during a crisis) for Hiccup to reverse centuries of anti-dragon prejudice and show his village, and his dad, a better way.

From watching the 2D version, I suspect the 3D version has fantastic scenes of Hiccup and his crush, Astrid, riding the dragon through the clouds.  Of course, I've already seen two young people fall in love while riding winged creatures through the air in 3D -- Avatar.  Hard to top that.

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