Have you ever felt like a disappointment to everyone you know? Someone your parents and peers think of as an anchor dragging the rest of them down or as a mere inconvenience? How do you get past that?
Berk is a small, Viking village located near the Arctic Circle. At least, that’s an assumption I made based on the main character’s statement that “it snows nine months of the year and hails the other three”. That main character, Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is the only son of the village chief, Stoick the Vast (voiced by Gerard Butler). The village is under near-constant siege by outside forces. Those outside forces being dragons. Hiccup (Baruchel) is short, slim, and in no way strong. The one trade all villagers learn in their lifetime is the art of hunting and killing dragons. Gobber (Hiccup’s employer and the proprietor of the village armory, voiced by Craig Ferguson) suggests that Hiccup stop all of “this” while gesturing to all of him. Gobber (Ferguson) is a man who has lost several limbs over the years, all during encounters with dragons. Hiccup, being seriously lacking in physical strength, designs and constructs a machine to propel the weapons that the other villagers simply throw by hand. Of course, during a trial run in front of Gobber, the machine strikes a villager. Hiccup takes that same apparatus to a mountaintop, fires on one of the few species of dragon that’s never been captured or seen and, miraculously, causes that dragon to fall to earth. Overjoyed by this victory, Hiccup shouts in triumph but is soon set upon by a species of dragon that can breathe fire and produce fire throughout its entire body. He’s rescued by his father who expresses disappointment in his son and disbelief in Hiccup’s claim to have landed a blow against a Night Fury. He treks through the woods the next day, determined to find proof of his accomplishment, but finds something far more significant.
Now, unlike a lot of “adults” I maintain my affection for “children’s” movies. This is not to say that I like all, or even most, children’s movies. For example, Despicable Me, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Eight Crazy Nights disappointed me to a degree that I cannot express in words. But, in spite of its flaws or maybe because of them, I loved How to Train Your Dragon. Casting Baruchel as Hiccup was genius. Hiccup’s peers, voiced by Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, America Ferrara and others, fit the roles they’re given perfectly. If you have children who haven’t seen this movie, you should take steps to remedy that. If you don’t have children but can enjoy movies that are produced for them, like I do, check it out.