“Dragon” soars at the box office

Movie-goers take a liking to Hollywood’s recent 3D experience

By Alexandra Riewer

If you’re already getting sick of the 3D movie craze this season, well, make room in your heart for one more.  Believe me when I say I was tired of my eyes being strained and my head pounding after walking out of a movie. I am also not a fan of my wallet being 11 dollars lighter, even if I get to leave with the 3D glasses – a nice souvenir. But I quickly forgot about these annoyances as soon as Vikings with long, bright red, curly beards paired with soaring, multi-colored dragons hit the screen with exploding fireworks of color.

Hiccup takes flight with his dragon friend, Toothless. Photo Credit: DreamWorks

Based on the series of children’s novels by Cressida Cowell, How to Train Your Dragon is well worth enduring the unfortunate side effects that come with 3D movies.  Directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders have brought viewers a film that features a teen Viking named Hiccup, who is clumsy and is known amongst the village as an accident-prone misfit.  He has reached the age where he is to be trained to slay his first dragon – a rite of passage in Viking culture.  Unfortunately, he has neither the physical ability nor the nerve to do it.  And it doesn’t help that Hiccup’s father is Stoick the Viking Chieftan.

In Viking culture, one thing you must never do is consort with the enemy, especially a dragon. But when he befriends a dragon named Toothless, Hiccup discovers that the dragons may fear the Vikings as much as the Vikings fear them when he befriends a dragon named Toothless.  Will Hiccup turn out to be the Viking his father wishes he were, or will he remain loyal to his newfound friendship?

The film is exciting and captivating throughout, with great visuals of the desolate island on which they live, and not a whole lot can be much more exciting this movie-going season than Vikings fighting dragons.  Not to mention, Gerard Butler does the voice over for Stoick – who can resist? The narrative is humorous and the characters are unique. But the film falls short of some originality following the “zero-to-hero” theme very similar to that of a number of animated films, including Disney’s Hercules. HTTYD also lacks a wide range of species of dragons, which could have added slightly more excitement.

But the film still sends a positive message for kids about tolerance and getting to know your enemies, for they may not be as different as you think.  HTTYD is a breath of fresh, fiery air because we all know the movie selection this season is not looking so hot. It is definitely a step up from the overly hyped-up 3D film from Tim Burton, Alice in Wonderland.  If you are looking for a film where you do not have to think too hard after a long week of class and just want to enjoy a nice outing to the Cineplex, then this film is perfect for a lazy Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.  Unfortunately, this viewing experience comes with a hefty price tag.  Island Cinemas in Middletown is only showing the film in 3D, so you are forced to pay the 11 dollar ticket price. But this is definitely not a film that is needed to be watched in 3D unlike that of Avatar. Viewers were just as entertained by the Shrek and Madagascar series produced by DreamWorks without the option of 3D.  HTTYD shares the aspects of a colorful, visually pleasing setting with these movies and can be just as enjoyable in 2D.

The film brings many good laughs out of viewers, and despite its lack of total originality, it still manages to strike a chord in audiences. Though technically made for kids, this film is definitely enjoyable for adults; it sure got me.

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