How to Train Your Dragon works well on every level, and should be as entertaining for adults as it is children. The film’s box office success is unsurprising, particularly when considering the 3D element it offers.
The film centres on Hiccup, a young Viking who is worlds apart from the rest of his town, particularly his father. Hiccup is immediately identified as an outsider, having neither the strength nor the bravery to fight dragons, despite his desire to please his father. After befriending a dragon, Hiccup realises that slaying dragons may not be the way forward…
Hiccup is a very likable protagonist; most will be able to identify with his position as different to those around him. Furthermore, the film highlights the importance of keeping your own identity, and not following the crowd. Hiccup overcomes the odds in own way, persuading his contemporaries to his way of thinking.
The animation in How to Train Your Dragon is superb. Particularly appealing is Toothless, the dragon that Hiccup befriends. His mannerisms are cute; clearly the figure represents multiple merchandising opportunities. The use of 3D works excellently in the film; taking into account many of the 3D films released in the last year or so, it seems the form works better with animated or heavily CGI-infused productions.
The only real negative element of the film is that the narrative is quite predictable. But given that this is a family-orientated feature, it would be difficult for Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders to push boundaries too much, whilst retaining the film’s mass appeal.