Sunday was a good day of geekdom for me. I helped my son roll up his first D&D character (human fighter, for those of you who are curious). Then my husband and I took him for his first movie theater experience: How to Tame Your Dragon. Watching the theater seat try to eat our child started my giggles. His knees bumped his chin. Luckily, he had his daddy to tame the seat monster as mommy was no help at all.
This was my first experience with the new 3D technology. (Yes, I missed Avatar.) The last time I saw something in 3D, I had to use those paper specs with the red and blue film. These new glasses are so cool. They dimmed the light a bit, but otherwise looked clear and normal. Other than making a child look adorable, of course. They were huge on his face. When the 3D part started during the previews, I couldn't resist flipping the glasses up and down to see the difference. Technology is truly amazing.
I. Loved. This. Movie.
Okay, now that I got that out of the way, I like a good underdog story. Hiccup is the Viking runt of the Island of Berk. Nobody will let him try out any of his big ideas to help fight off the dragons. Against orders, he takes his prize contraption into an attack and hits the fabled Night Fury. But nobody sees his success, only the destruction left behind from the dragons going for one pint-sized would-be Viking hero.
When he finds the entrapped dragon the next day, he can't bring himself to kill it, even though the act would bring him instant fame and his father's respect. He cuts the beast free. The Night Fury could have slaughtered him right there. Instead, he has enough intelligence to make the connection that the boy spared his life. So, he merely roars in Hiccup's face and dashes away.
Over several visits, Hiccup gradually wins the Night Fury's trust and names him "Toothless." Through the budding friendship, Hiccup learns surprising information about dealing with dragons that enables him to subdue them without needing to kill. Before long, Hiccup is faced with obeying his father and killing a dragon in front of his whole town or defending the dragons and getting the townsfolk to understand the reason behind all the raids. And that is not even the climax. Tension just takes off into the sky from there. Hiccup and his peers have to rally together to save the dragons and their fellow Vikings.
The special effects had me as enchanted as my son, but it was more than a Cool Effects movie. It wasn't even just a Cool Effects and Humorous Dialogue movie. (I was giggling most of the movie.) It was a Good Story. There are several plot and character points I want to comment on that I think made this an enjoyable movie for both adults and children. Yes, my writer's hat was still on my head, simply pushed askew by fancy 3D specs.
But doing so would require a fair number of spoilers. I'd hate to ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. If you haven't, go now. Run--do not walk to your nearest/favorite theater. I'll be here munching some popcorn, waiting for you to get back, so we can chat about all the cool stuff in effects and story.