How to Train Your Dragon: The Post-Avatar Blues

dragon-filmHow to Train Your Dragon concerns a youth and his best friend, a dragon. Sound familiar? Been there, done that with Eragon, Mulan, Pete's Dragon, and a dozen others. For a refresher course, check out the site Dragons of the Silver and Small Screen.

Of course, this 3D effort by the writers/directors of Lilo & Stitch, Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, is often visually enticing, yet after viewing Avatar so recently, the Pow! Factor is at times missing. How quickly our expectations for what's screened in our cinemas keep rising. I remember when one of my students complained Psycho was boring because there were not enough murders.

Anyway, at the screening I attended, boisterous little toddlers, who screeched during the opening Dragon credits, apparently were mesmerized by what they later saw through their 3D goggles, and their yaps remained shut for the rest of the picture. Either that's a great recommendation, or the Valium I sprinkled on their popcorn kicked in.

The hero here is a young Viking lad, who for some ungodly reason is named Hiccup (blandly voiced by Jay Baruchel). Going a tidbit Freudian, Hiccup is your ordinary pre-homosexual lad who hates sports and killing dragons, who is considered an uncoordinated klutz by his peers, and who falls in love with a tomboy. He doesn't come out in this segment, but apparently in the upcoming sequel, How to Train Your Hairdresser, Hiccup develops a crush on a Justin-Bieber lookalike and conquers a brigade of right-wing fundamentalist giant squid.

Here, however, the motherless Hiccup, who resides on the Island of Berk, which is located on "the meridian of Misery," learns all by himself that dragons are not his clan's enemies, but are misunderstood, lovable creatures that the Vikings should befriend and stop slaughtering. Can his dragon-phobic dad, Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), be won over to this pacifist, pro-PETA message? You're darn tootin' he can!

But, sadly, not before the picture gave me a raging headache, which I just discovered is not at all an uncommon response to the 3D experience.

Yet with aspirin by your side, if you are a parent who doesn't mind your children dreaming nightly of battling gargantuan, carnivorous, fire-breathing lizards, How to Train Your Dragon is a comparatively cheap babysitter. - Brandon Judell


Mr. Judell is featured in Rosa von Praunheim's forthcoming documentary New York Memories. In the spring, he'll be teaching "The Image of the Jew in Post-World War II European Cinema" and "Gay and Lesbian Literature" at The City College of New York. He has written on film for The Village Voice, indieWire, Detour, and The Advocate, and is anthologized in Cynthia Fuchs's Spike Lee Interviews (University Press of Mississippi).

Awesome film

I definitely think that if you want to read that subtext into it, the film-makers have left it wide open for you, which personally I think is great. It's not nonsense at all; but that doesn't have to be your personal response so they've done a really good job in making it appeal to everyone. You obviously didn't come away from the movie feeling that it echoed the experience of falling in love with someone you're told you shouldn't, and coming out in the face of massive social pressure etc., but I personally did. I think it's great that the movie has that element - at the end of the day it has lots of heart as you put it. I think it had really good anti-war subtexts too. I also think it had breathtaking visuals, good writing, good performances and a good score, and that this guy's review was a bit rubbish... :D

What a crappy review. If you

What a crappy review. If you don't like the movie that much, no problem, but at least write down the reasons why you don't like it.

Personally I thought the animation was gorgeous, definitely not under Pixars' Up, the dialogue was snappy, it had a beautiful score, decent voice acting and last but not least, the movie had lots of heart.

And what's that utter nonsense about Hiccup being gay ? Please grow up or learn how to review a movie.

b judell review of How to Train Your Dragon

Well, now thqt we've heard all about you, how's about reviewing the film a little? No, seriously . ..

On Reviewing How to Train Your Dragon

Believe me! I'm more exciting in 3D than this picture, and you don't need 3D glasses to experience my depth.

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