How to Train Your Dragon; starring the voice of Jay Baruchel as Hiccup; directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders.
The Short Version
This movie is the gold-standard of animated films. No matter your age, it is perfectly charming. The animation is top-notch, the humor is touching, and the underlying message is wonderful. Plus, Vikings.
The Plot in a Nutshell
The Reason You (and Your Gentleman/Lady Friend) Will Love it
Some movies--Toy Story comes to mind—appeal to children, while offering a wink and nod to adults. Others, like Planes, hide behind the “children’s film” label, using it as an excuse for their poor quality. Adults are just expected to suffer through an unfunny, brightly-colored monstrosity of a movie in the name of keeping their children entertained. It is impossible to tell what category the film falls under until it’s too late.
Fortunately, How to Train to Train Your Dragon is the perfect film for an adult animation-junkie. Loosely based on the popular middle grade book by Cressida Cowell, it contains witty dialogue, grounded characters, and spectacular visuals. The movie tackles adult themes such as prejudice, family, and friendship, while still managing to be entertaining.
The movie takes on an obvious theme, “it’s okay to be different,” and goes one step further. Not only is Hiccup different, it’s his difference that upsets the status quo and helps his people live better lives. The trail blazers—the people that make the big difference—they aren’t like everyone else. So not only is it okay to be different, it’s preferred.
At the heart of the movie is the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless the dragon, which provides an admirable commentary on what happens when we judge our enemies. When the two take the time to learn about each other, they develop a beautiful friendship and learn to work together.
The movie also plays with our ideas about gender norms in a beautiful way. Astrid, a female Viking, is at the top of her dragon training course (above all the other arguably stronger males), and Hiccup’s father is a single-father. But these aren’t plot points. The movie doesn’t feel the need to comment on it or draw attention to it. It’s just... normal. And that’s pretty cool.
Another plus to How to Train Your Dragon is that a sequel is currently in theatres—meaning double feature [Ed. Note: and it’s awesome]. Eat your dinner at home while watching the first one, and then head out to the theater to see the second one, which has received phenomenal reviews. Here is everything you need for the perfect double feature date night.
Your best option is to create a huge spread that you can snack on during the movie. If you cut a beef smoked sausage and several varieties of cheeses, you can arrange them on a platter with crackers. Serve some crusty bread and smoked salmon alongside it. Another great option is meatballs (either store bought or from your favorite recipe). Then make a giant fruit platter with all types of berries, grapes, and apple slices.