Seriously, the main theme of the movie is that the kid’s dad can’t stand him. Why? Because the boy is physically unable to be Viking-strong and Viking-tough. He would have been a new peak on Dead Baby Skeleton Mountain in 300, but his dad — Gerard Butler — is luckily a Viking this time. The rest of the theme is that this son keeps trying to earn his father’s love, but continually fails through no fault of his own. In the end, the father learns no “valuable lesson”, and I’m left feeling a little uncomfortable at all of the implications. But read the next paragraph before damning How to Train Your Dragon, because I’m going to say it’s a decent movie despite this really weird flaw.
So, it’s a decent movie despite that stuff. If you want to hear more about that, then skip the third paragraph.
The dragons were, largely, a disappointment. The hero dragon is, of course, unique in intelligence and looks, and it’s pretty cool. Every OTHER dragon — and there are easily hundreds of them — is limited to one of five or so “not the hero dragon” types, and they are ALL fucking ridiculous looking, so the movie is not incredibly subtle about telling you what you should and should not care about.
It’s not subtle about anything, really, unless you include the amazingly subtle CGI work. Because that shit is all kinds of awesome! The story is sort of fun, the visuals are mostly pretty cool, the characters are interesting (Albeit one-dimensional in several cases) and voiced quite well, and the action scenes really shine.
It works really well as a kids’ movie, so long as they don’t start looking up to Gerard Butler as a father figure. And it’s definitely got the chops to keep the attention of adults… but only for a little while. Even if they don’t find the movie’s one-note themes aggravating, there’s just nothing that they’ve done brilliantly enough to leave a lasting impression (Unless it’s “Hey, I know I can play THIS video to keep the kids quiet — and the video will probably entertain me when I walk by from time to time!”).
Hm, this really strikes me as an abysmal review. I swear I didn’t hate this movie!