Animated movies come in all shapes and sizes, with different goals, ideas, and aims. Pixar’s movies, for instance, are usually focused on making an emotional connection with the characters. You cried during the first ten minutes of Up, go ahead and admit it. Other animated films are played primarily for laughs, others pitch some moral lesson. How to Train Your Dragon takes a simple approach: It’s selling adventure. Wild, high-flying, wind in your hair adventure. A lot happens along the way and sure there’s a message but DreamWorks movies at their best, and this is one of them, are all about entertainment. How to Train Your Dragon, directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, takes its audience on a fire-breathing, dipping, diving ride and never looks back.
It starts in Viking village, one which looks a lot like the hillside halls of Rohan in Lord of the Rings. In the village lives a pack of sturdy, ass-kicking Vikings and a kind of nerdy, gangly kid named Hiccup, (Jay Baruchel’s). They’re at war, pretty much all the time. Their enemy is a horde of fire breathing dragons that raid their homes, almost nightly, snatching livestock and burning everything in sight. Anyone else would have moved long ago, but they’re Vikings, and stubbornness comes with the territory. Hiccup though, is far less Viking than the norm and he’s not much good at fighting or staring danger in the eye and lopping off its head. Still he wants to fit in and so, desperate to prove himself, he concocts a catapult and uses it knock one of their aerial attackers out of the sky. When no one believes he’s done it, Hiccup strikes off on his own to find his downed foe, and discovers something unexpected.
Hiccup finds his dragon trapped and injured. Unable to kill a helpless animal, he frees it, helps it, and eventually actually learns to ride it. The movie launches into a series of utterly breathtaking flying sequences, soaring through clouds and skimming along an endless ocean as Hiccup and the...
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