Some plots are so common we ought to grow tired of them. Thus it is with How to Tame Your Dragon (2010; dirs. Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders), in which a young boy of around twelve, Hiccup, smaller than the rest of his peers, held in uneasy suspicion by his father (who also loves him), always clumsy and weak at physical exploits but intelligent and daring as well, has to prove himself. He’s a Viking, and the main activity of his clan is hunting and slaying dragons. Here we have the story, in another cloth, of Henry V or of (as I’ll explain in another posting) that of the fabled American racing horse Seabiscuit, in whom no one believes until he proves himself.
The boy in How to Train Your Dragon proves himself by befriending a dragon that no one else in his tribe believes can be subdued. He does so to the astonishment and eventually the support of his band of friends, one of whom is a young girl who aspires to be the first in their group to kill a dragon. Each person in the group is a different personality. They are amusing and help bring the story to life.
There’s excitement and humor here, along with excellent animation—scenes in which the boy soars through the cloudy skies on the back of his dragon are outstanding. How to Train Your Dragon is entertaining and a pleasure to watch, more for how it tells its story than for the story itself.