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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

For the uninitiated, this is not an actual manual on training dragons. (Yes, I have considerable experience in the training industry, but well, I’ve never offered training in handling mythical creatures so far. Such programs are best left to Mr. Hagrid, Mr. Dumbledore, and co.)

Ok, let’s get on with thoughts about the movie - ‘How to Train your Dragon’

There’s this total loser chap, who manages to mess up everything, and craves for the adulation of his peers and his father. No one trusts him with anything, but he is determined to make it big. And make it big he does! Much to the admiration of his peers, his father, and oh the girl he has a crush on.

Sounds familiar, you say? (You bet!! It sounds just like my story. Except that umm, I haven’t made it big yet, and umm…. there is no girl at present, that I have a crush on. Everything else is picked from my life. Hey, hey, hey!!)

On a serious note, how many movies have we watched with the same plot? I’ve lost count.

So, you know that the scrawny loser, imaginatively named ‘Hiccup’ is born in the mighty Viking clan, destined to battle fearsome dragons who attack the clan and carry away their livestock, and burn down their huts. But, Hiccup manages to mess up every single thing that he meddles in. So much so, that his father ‘Stoick the Vast’ (voiced by Gerard Butler of ‘300’ fame) is ashamed of his son.

Meanwhile, during a dragon raid, Hiccup manages to sneak out and shoot down an unseen dragon of the most fearsome kind – the Nightfury. But, no one believes him, and he almost gets himself killed.

What next for a teen who doesn’t obey his parents? He’s grounded, of course.

It is with great scepticism that Stoick allows him to undergo dragon training. But, the kid is more interested in looking for the dragon he thinks he shot down. He locates the dragon in a forest clearing and is unable to kill it, seeing the same fear in its eyes that he himself feels.

And from then on, it’s a lovely relationship between ‘Toothless’ the dragon, and boy-hero Hiccup, who beats all odds to become the saviour of the Vikings.

I don’t think the film is too different from many of its peers. I don’t think the CGI is exceptional, or brilliant. I don’t think there’s anything pathbreaking about the movie. But somehow, the overall package is endearing and guaranteed to make you smile. I am fairly critical of movies, and I did enjoy the movie, so I guess that’s saying something.

Suggestion: Don’t look for messages or interpretations. (There are lessons that can be learnt from the movie, but in my opinion it is best to steer clear of those for now and just have fun.) Don’t compare the movie with others because it would be unfair. Just lean back, relax and be transported to a land where ‘it snows for 9 months, and hails for the other 3.’

Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5