Looking Back at 2010s Films: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

2 Oct


By Tanner Smith

Continuing my series of Looking Back at 2010s Films, I finally saw “How to Train Your Dragon” a second time–the first time was nine years ago in a theater.

It wasn’t that I didn’t WANT to see “How to Train Your Dragon” again, because I liked it–it was more like I felt I didn’t HAVE to see it again. But I finally did, and I gotta say, it’s even better the second time. (Maybe the third viewing will be in the near future rather than the distant future.)

Now I HAVE to see the sequels!

It’s weird how good this film is–on paper, it sounds so conventional (and so boring); a prejudice story, set in Viking times, with a twerp who becomes the hero, has to lie about who he is, has to keep a supposedly “dangerous” pet (in this case, a dragon) a secret because, you know, prejudice and stuff, the kid’s father turns him away when he finds out the truth, but of course there’s a climax that shows these people the error of their ways, and blah blah blah, WHO CARES??…….OK, that sounds mean–we do need stories like this to show today’s kids because prejudice is still alive and well in our world today, sadly.

Anyway, as predictable as this type of story may be, there’s a way of doing it right. And “How to Train Your Dragon” found that way.

For one thing, the characters seem real. Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel–already, I’m on board with this unusual choice of voice casting) is aware of his own status and doesn’t try too hard to prove himself worthy of being a typical Viking but still tries to prove his worth in other ways, which is refreshing for a story like this. His father (Gerard Butler) is a typical brutish Viking type who has hardly anything but strength and fighting in his heart–he’s embarrassed by his son’s weak, slim build and his prejudice of course leads to him doing something horrible towards his son when he learns the secret that he can tame and train dragons…yet at the same time, he’s not portrayed as this one-dimensional brute; you see the humanity within him and that it actually hurts him to do and say the things he does sometimes. (And another refreshing take for this story–there is no real villain here!)

Many of the characters seem three-dimensional…not just because they’re 3D-animated. (Boy, that might be the dumbest thing I’ve written for this series of posts.)

The environment of this Viking village is well-established, the dragon itself (named “Toothless”) is expressive and cute, and the flying scenes…THE FLYING SCENES…….I really wish I saw this film in IMAX instead of a regular theater. I kept hearing about how great the flying scenes looked in IMAX and in 3D, and seeing it again (on a small TV screen), I don’t doubt it looks great on the biggest screen!

“How to Train Your Dragon” is just good fun with a familiar story told really well–I’ll be watching it again soon…and then I’ll get to the sequels.

One Response to “Looking Back at 2010s Films: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)”


  1. Looking Back at 2010s Films: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) | Smith's Verdict - November 9, 2019

    […] my Looking Back post on “How to Train Your Dragon”, I mentioned that I hadn’t seen the “How to Train Your Dragon” sequels. I […]

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