“I wouldn’t kill him because he looked as frightened as I was. I looked at him, and I saw myself.”
If this is how everyone viewed the other before picking on them, the world would be a better place. But one can always dream of such a future, especially when that vision is supported by spectacular visuals and an enchanting tale. The aforementioned dialogue is from the acclaimed animated feature How to Train Your Dragon and is first spoken by lead character Hiccup as he explains to his tribe why he couldn’t slay the dragon as his community expected him to. Hiccup, like any other underdog narrative’s hero, is the stereotypical misfit. He is skinny, scared and cannot do what most Vikings do so naturally, like slaying dragons.
Helmed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, with a screenplay by Will Davies and the directors, the feature is based on the book by the same name, authored by Cressida Cowell. Running at 98 minutes, How to Train Your Dragon is a fantastical tale of a Viking teenager who goes against his traditions and instead of killing a dragon, befriends one. The bond shared by Night Fury (the dragon) and Hiccup (voiced by a superb Jay Baruchel) is special as they journey together to break stereotypes and help Hiccup’s people against some powerful enemies. The script is tight, the dialogues nail the emotions and the voice acting is top notch. Having talented actors such as Jonah Hill, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler, Kristen Wiig, David Tennat on board certainly helped.
Usually, the notion is that animation is meant for children, just like comics are read by nerds and fairy tales are for little girls. Both those largely held beliefs are wrong. Everything that has a meaning and a soul, that exists for engagement and to connect with people can be consumed by people of any age bracket. And How to Train Your Dragon is exactly that movie which will appeal to you despite how old or young you are, primarily because the themes it talks about are the subjects our young ones need to know more about, and the adults need to remember. The major motif is of kinship, and that you can find with anyone, in this case, even with a deadly dragon! The narrative is simple, but lovely and the camera work accompanying those sequences, just as exquisite, if not more. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise since the cinematography consultant here was the venerated Roger Deakins.
Hollywood Rewind: Freaky Friday | Disturbia | Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse | Free Willy | Carrie | Crash | Persepolis | The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants | Philadelphia | Mrs Doubtfire | Easy A | Romeo + Juliet | Coraline | Gone Girl | Starship Troopers | Bridget Jones’s Diary | Almost Famous | Inglourious Basterds | Beginners | Girl With a Pearl Earring | Juno | Nightcrawler | Little Miss Sunshine | Moana | The Sound of Music | Benny and Joon | Crimson Peak | The Holiday | My Blueberry Nights | The Help | Mission Impossible | Chef | Revolutionary Road | I’m Not There | Donnie Brasco | Sicario | Edge of Tomorrow | Spy Kids | 1998’s Godzilla | The Others | Phone Booth | Wild | Scream | The Godfather Part II | One Fine Day | True Romance | Little Women | Face-off | Pulp Fiction | Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon | The Age of Innocence | Mean Girls | Die Hard | Never Been Kissed | Citizen Kane | Kill Bill Volume I | Terminator 2 Judgment Day | Titanic | Heat | Home Alone | Jerry Maguire | Brief Encounter | The Truman Show | The Deer Hunter | The Shining | Clueless | Ferris Bueller’s Day Off | Blue Velvet | Taxi Driver | The Lord of the Rings I | Zero Dark Thirty | The Godfather | Say Anything | Warm Bodies | Bright Star | Malcolm X | Stardust | Red Eye | Notting Hill | Fargo | The Virgin Suicides | The Breakfast Club | Enchanted | Walk the Line | Blood Diamond | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Mortal Kombat | Bridges of Madison County | Edward Scissorhands | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | She’s Gotta Have It | Ever After | The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
Its vibrant colours and landscape of Berk, the Viking village, is striking. The CGI is done beautifully, making you fall for that world hopelessly and irrevocably. Night Fury aka Toothless is pull-its-cheeks adorable. All in all, a stand-up job by the team which ended up earning them two Oscar nominations that year — for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score (a job well done by John Powell). And as if the nominations weren’t enough, How to Train Your Dragon also managed to make a killing at the box office, earning close to 500 million dollars, a smasher.
You can watch How to Train Your Dragon on JioCinema.