The following is my attempt at a review of “How to Train Your Dragon.” There may be some spoilers between the stars.
Hubby and I went to see “How to Train Your Dragon” this afternoon. We both enjoyed it a lot. Now, part of this is because I’ve always liked dragons. I’ve also always found Vikings to be incredibly fascinating. So I’m a little biased! But in addition to dragons and Vikings, the story and animation was spectacular! Rather than relying on goofy pop culture references that will lose their humor generations later, “Dragon” had a timeless quality and lovable, organically humorous characters. The environment was so lush, and Toothless, the dragon, was adorable. I’m aware that such an adjective is a little strange to use with a dragon, but it’s the best word. He reminded me of one of our cats; hilarious and feisty at the same time.
Although the portrayal of Viking life was probably quite inaccurate* (it’s not my area of specialty), I thought it was a positive portrayal of polytheism. The Vikings said little prayers to Odin and I think I even heard Thor’s name. Hiccup, the protagonist, said something about “Gods.” It’s nice that the creators showed the Vikings as regular Pagans just trying to live and maintain the security of their little island – decent Pagans rather than the shifty, unscrupulous Pagans presented in the 3D version of “Beowulf.”
There was also, I will argue, a subtle environmental theme. The the beginning, the Vikings conquered the wilds which were the dragons. In the end, the road to peace for everyone was through an intimate, symbiotic relationship. The dragons were occasionally referred to as pets, but they were really treated as friends and equals in the end. Relationships like that are possible with horses, cows, and the very Earth Mother herself. We need to return to that or else our own dragons, in the form of environmental change, will threaten us further.
I highly recommend the film. It’s quickly become one of my favorites. I give this movie five out of five prosthetic dragon fins!
* I have recently learned that Vikings probably didn’t wear horned helmets, for instance. I’m also very curious how accurate the runes in the story were!