Posted by: ritsukurimono | April 2, 2010

How To Train Your Dragon

Source: IMP Awards

SO and I went to see How To Train Your Dragon last night in 3D.

DO IT. This movie is ADORABLE.

You know how the flying scenes were about 60% of the best part of Avatar? It’s like Dreamworks said, “Okay, okay, so we’re going to take that part, make it better, remove the creepy white-man-subjugates-the-natives-and-mother-earth overtones, and hey, we have room for another theme? Let’s throw in a dash of anti-ableism.” Nice!

For me, the best parts of the movie were the flying sequences; they were gorgeous. Dreamworks really outdid itself in using 3D intelligently and in a way that felt subtle organic, not just like “And all of a sudden–FIRE! COMING RIGHT AT YOU! DUUUUCK!”

The other point of excellence was the lighting. It’s the sort of thing where you don’t usually notice it unless it’s egregiously bad. It’s just…there, you know? But the lighting in How to Train Your Dragon went the other way, and it’s actually so good that I turned to my SO in the middle of the movie and whispered, “The lighting in this film is great!” I suppose that’s the advantage of working in an animated environment–you can create the perfect lighting for the atmosphere from the pixels up. There’s one certain scene in a fog bank where lightning flashes and you get the briefest glimpse of two huge wings silhouetted in the fog. Incredibly well-done and atmospheric.

ETA: SO has informed me that the lighting director for this movie is the guy who usually does cinematography for the Coen brothers, so if you needed another reason to see the movie….

Other points of excellence: the music, which was a little heavy-handed in that John Williams sort of way, but used so well that you forgave it. Toothless’s characterization, which was cute in exactly the same way a feral kitten is cute. The ending, which was everything I wanted it to be!

Which is not to say that the movie hasn’t its problematic points, to wit: the Problem of Astrid. Not, perhaps, as nuanced as the Problem of Susan, but what was up with HTTYD’s treatment of her? So she’s the strongest, quickest, most agile person in Hiccup’s year-group. Bonus points, Dreamworks!

But instead of making her a strong and independent character, she’s like the (blonde, thin, miniskirted) shell where a character ought to be. Need a muse to inspire Hiccup? Astrid’s there. Need a damsel in distress to motivate Hiccup? Astrid’s there. Need someone to fall in love with Hiccup in order to boost his self-esteem? Oh hey, Astrid, I didn’t see you there until I needed to shoehorn you into this plot! And here, this part’s spoilery so highlight to read it:

Astrid goes from strong, capable dragon killer to passive woman supporting and facilitating her man’s genius so fast it makes my head spin. You can pinpoint exactly when it happens, too–during that dragon ride. I know that trope’s nothing new; see the magic carpet ride in Aladdin, but it bugged me here.

But I will bypass it to highlight the UTTER BULLSHIT that had Toothless doing his best impression of a runaway roller coaster car UNTIL ASTRID APOLOGIZED, at which point he stopped diving into the ocean and started the magic carpet ride portion of the evening. But what the hell did Astrid have to apologize for? “Sorry I found out that you were harboring a dangerous dragon and threatened to tell the village full of people, including my family, that you put in harm’s way?” “Sorry that I wasn’t pleased when you, Hiccup, kidnapped me to take on this magical dragon ride of horrors? I know I should have been honored, I’m sorry!” Seriously what the hell is up with that?

Also, there is no reason why Hiccup’s mother had to be dead, but she was anyway. Way to go, Dreamworks. Way to go.

Funny/sweet final note:

Source: IMP Awards.

The name of the movie in Japan is “Hikku and Dragon,” presumably because “Hiccup” transliterated might have five syllables, not two. “Toothless” has also become just “Tooth.” The tagline reads, loosely translated, “We’re lonely, so, let’s be lonely together.”



  1. ひとりぼっちから二人ぼっちへーーー

    かわいいいいいいいいいいい ❤ ❤ ❤

    i really want to see this. i have to wait til AUGUST. fml.

  2. でしょおおおおお?

    It’s worth it! 😀 See it in 3D, too! ❤

  3. I heard that this was really good. I’m going to try and see it soon.

  4. I was really impressed by this movie too. From the posters (didn’t see a trailer beforehand) I thought it looked dumb, and I still am not a fan of how anime the dragon looks, but I really enjoyed it 🙂

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