To prep for How To Train Your Dragon 3 we’re taking a look at the previous entries in the series. Today Eric takes a look at the first film in the series.
This movie was a treat to see when it was in theaters. Where other films would use 3D as a gimmick and to obstruct the escapism element, this film was the first, as far as I can recall, that used 3D as a tool for immersion. Things weren’t popping out like Spy Kids 3D, the world was 3D and it brought you in.
This is an extremely beautiful film to use for this technique as well. Even watching the film on my phone, the animation and movement flowed beautifully among the well-textured environments.
The issue I always have with movies meant for children is where to let up in the criticism. Honestly, I think it’s one of those things you just know when you see it. This film is not excluded from having to be viewed with that criticism.
Is the story more simple than it would be if it was aimed at an older audience? Yes. Are there a few hiccups with the pacing and story? Yes, one of them is even the main character. However, when the framework is provided, it does that all really well. It is far better to do something more simplistic well, than it is to try and come off edgy, new, or complex and fail horribly. Or even just be meh.
The movie doesn’t treat the audience like they are unintelligent either. Like all great kids movies, it just knows that the children have less life experience, not that they are less capable of figuring it out. Sure, there are some premise things it has to establish, but it doesn’t overextend its welcome trying to make sure you understand very simple things. Instead, it invites you to learn as the characters do. The beauty in this the way it applies it’s lesson. The film tells you that dragons are pests and stereotypically bad and then challenges that notion as Hiccup, too, learns more about them.
The Viking way would tell us the only way to deal with an issue is to use violence, which had been the societal norm that needed to be challenged in order to move forward. Hiccup empathizes with Toothless and together they create a mutually beneficial partnership that allows Hiccup to succeed by using his head rather than a sword. What is appreciated though is that the film doesn’t get up on a soap box and hit you over the head and say, “Fighting is bad!” but allows this to occur with Hiccup naturally using his own reasonings.
Most importantly, the film is fun. It’s bright and full of color and wonder. Watching Hiccup and Toothless build their relationship makes me glad the franchise is ,in fact, a franchise. They grow together, the learn together, and it makes for a great movie.
Gather around the couch and watch something that’s a treat for the eyes and the soul this weekend as we get ready for How to Train Your Dragon 3.