Skepticism

Skepchick Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon

I’m working overtime again, and on my last day off, Tim3P0 had to work, so I decided to see a movie with my Mom and sister. The only thing that looked remotely tolerable was the latest computer animated offering from Dreamworks: How to Train Your Dragon. I’d seen Craig Ferguson pimping it a bit on his show (he voices one of the characters in the film), and I thought it looked alright, but it wasn’t necessarily something I thought I’d seek out in the theater.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the movie thoroughly entertaining, it also had a fantastically skeptical story. It takes place in a Viking village, back in Viking days, in a world where dragons are real. The entire culture of the town is based around the killing of said dragons, who frequently raid the village for livestock. Our protagonist, Hiccup, is a bit of a misfit. He’s a scrawny, nerdy teenager, surrounded by giant, dragon slaying manly men, who mostly tell him he’s not good enough and try to keep him from getting in the of the way of their important dragon slaying business. He spends time with the town blacksmith, and tries to invent technological ways to fight dragons, since he is not physically suited to the traditional ways.

After his father leaves on a raiding party to find the dragons’ nest, events ensue that start Hiccup questioning the ways of his people. Through research, experimentation, and experience, he begins to get to the root of the village’s dragon problem. No one had ever thought to ask why the dragons were attacking. They had been happy to just continue to kill them as they came. By being skeptical, searching for answers, and coming up with creative solutions, Hiccup eventually saves the day.

While the story was a bit predictable, I didn’t mind. It was so much fun, it didn’t have to be full of surprises. I highly recommend this film, whether or not you have kids. I’ll be buying it when it comes out on Blu Ray.

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5 Comments

  1. I went to see this movie because my friend really wanted to and the go-karting we wanted to do was closed. I am so glad I did. I agree with your review. A little predictable but really good, plus it was eye candy. I will also probably get it when it comes out on DVD. It was so nice to see a movie that is funny for kids without being patronizing and using just slapstick and poop humor. Those things are all well and good but kids can understand better humor than that. In days when movies like ‘The Tooth Fairy’ are the norm, I’m so glad that gems like this can be popular.

  2. I have to agree with pretty much everything here. Predictable, but fun enough, especially for the six-year-old. We, unfortunately for me, saw it in 3-D, as that was the only screen open when we went. The polarizing glasses, they don’t do so good when you’re already wearing glasses…

  3. Agreed. We say it with our kids lately, and loved it (in 3D – I didn’t have a problem with prescriptions + polarizers). I loved the way the story developed, and the emphasis on evidence-based conclusions… on the part, eventually, of many of the characters.

  4. @carr2d2

    Thanks, that’s the reaction I go for :). That, and since half my other avatars are stolen from folks at the JREF forums, it would be sort of silly to use them here…

    @brdavis

    I had real trouble. I only got occasional 3-D; mostly it was blurry screen edges and a mild headache. It might have to do with my horrible astigmatism; it might not. My eyes just don’t focus right. I can’t even do do those 3-d image pictures. I never get to see the sailboat…

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