Review: How to Train Your Dragon

At first glance, one might brush off “How to Train Your Dragon” as yet another cartoon kid’s movie with a simple story, unbelievable characters and a happy ending.

It turns out that it is a story everyone can relate to—never feeling QUITE good enough for your friends, your family, your society. “How to Train Your Dragon,” directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, captures all that and more in thrilling 3D sequences and spunky cartoon characters.

Although it has been in theaters for almost a month, the movie is still soaring close to the top of the box office, following closely behind the $19.8 million “Kick-A#@” with sales of $19.6 million.

I admit, as a child at heart, I’m a bit biased toward animated children’s movies. But when the approval rating on is 98%, you know it has got to be good.

The basic plot line can be a bit of a stretch—after all, not everybody is a young stick of a lad named Hiccup who lives in a Viking village with dragons around every corner. But the underlying story of first love, proving oneself and daring to cross borders all combines to make a heartwarming tale.

Hiccup, our hero, constantly finds himself the embarrassment of his father, the village chief, and that problem has led to being thrown in dragon training, where young teenagers are expected to go in fearlessly and come out strong and ready to maim and kill. Unfortunately, Hiccup has managed to befriend one of the most fearsome dragons of the time—the Night Fury (which he has affectionately christened Toothless). He discovers that dragons are just like humans—scared, lonely and not at all dangerous.

That is, until he is thrown in a ring with one and his father provokes it until the dragon bursts into a deadly flame upon finding out Hiccup is only pretending to be brave.

From there, the movie only gets better with fantastic 3D and animated imagery.  The exciting climax is filled with sonic blasts, dizzying flights and a terrifying dragon the size of a mountain.

Unlikely most cartoons, “How to Train Your Dragon” does not have the stereotypical completely happily-ever-after ending, where everyone comes out fine, but that makes the movie all the more tender.

“How to Train Your Dragon” is a perfect mix of wise-cracking humor, outrageous graphics, superb storyline…and it is most definitely not just for kids.