How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
2010's How to Train Your Dragon is a film I was really interested to return to, I remember seeing it in theaters and finding it to be just "ok", nothing about the movie really stuck out to me at the time but everyone else seemed to love it. Being both a critical and audience hit How to Train Your Dragon became respected as one of the all-time great animated films of the 2000's. With the last film of the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy on the horizon, I wanted to revisit this film and finally check out its sequel to see if I really had missed something 9 years ago when I first saw it. After seeing the film again I have to say that where I still see where I was coming from, there is a lot of this movie that I can't help but love.
First I want to talk about my issues with the film because where I do have a lot to praise I also do have things that just don't really work for me. The main negative I have with the film is its story, even as a kid the cliches and lack of original depth bothered me. This is a very standard story, none of the characters or arcs are new or unpredictable. From the first few minutes, you know exactly where this film is going and it really does nothing to defy your expectations. I found a lot of the heart from this movie to feel stale because of this, it doesn't have the originality needed to really stand out from all the other movies following a similar narrative path. The third act also feels really rushed and some of the character development in it feels undeserved.
Yet despite this I still think a lot of this film works, the script, for example, is clever. Where the plot itself is never breaking the mold the script does, it has some really well thought out lines and I appreciate a lot of the atmospheric beauty in this film. This is a movie that is not afraid to be quiet and let the scenes and emotions speak for themselves, from Toothless embracing Hiccups hand for the first time to the breathtaking beauty of flying through the skies on a dragon. There are so many scenes in this movie that are quiet yet speak so loudly. The animation is also really good, sure some of the character animation and movement haven't aged the best it still is possible, and the world itself is still spectacular. I love flying through the forests and coasts of Berk and being honestly memorized by its beauty. The dragons are also easily a highlight of this film for me, I love learning about all the different species and how they each behave. They feel creative and unique and I just want to learn more and more about them.
How to Train Your Dragon is a movie that at first glance should of come and gone, it should have just been a decent animated film that was appreciated for a few weeks but then left the minds of its viewers, but after watching it I see why so many have stuck by this film. Where the plot and characters are pretty bland there is an undeniable quality to this film and so much of it just works. It connects to the audience and provides just enough to where it goes above and beyond just a standard animated movie. There is something here, I just hope that future films can keep this while giving a more engaging plot to where it all comes together to create a true classic.