Whereas Clash Of The Titans is meant to be 3D action for the big kids, How To Train Your Dragon is 3D action for munchkins.
But don’t let that put you off going to the cinema to see what is a rather delightful little cartoon with plenty to please those of us who are older yet still young at heart. Set in a world of Vikings who, for some unexplained reason, all have Scottish accents, this is really a story of friendship and kinship.
Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is the not-so muscular son of Viking chieftain Stoick (Gerard Butler) who, with his clan, is waging a losing battle against a bunch of marauding dragons who keep flying off with the sheep and setting all the wooden houses in the village on fire. Hiccup is less of a warrior, more of a thinker and invents a harpoon catapult that one day shoots and wounds a dragon which he then tracks down. But rather than finding a ravening beast he discovers a creature as afraid of him as he is of it and he decides to befriend and tame the dragon rather than kill it.
What makes the film such a joy is the way it shows the adults stuck in their way of thinking (dragons are bad – must kill dragons), while the children are open to new ideas and options. The difficult father/son relationship is handled well as Hiccup tries valiantly to make his father proud of him and to be a ‘worthy’ son, while his dad doesn’t want to show how disappointed he is in Hiccup’s thoroughly less than heroic exploits.
There’s even a moral payback in the happy ending which lifts this into the bracket of “thoroughly entertaining kids’ movie with more than enough adult bits for the grown ups to enjoy”.
Any film where a dad presents his son with a drinking vessel made out of one of cups from his dead mum’s breastplate certainly gets my vote – and the dragon flying sequences are better than Avatar to boot.