Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rebecca's Reviews: How to Train Your Dragon

I was right. This is the movie I have been waiting to see all my life.

Hiccup ought to get an Oscar nomination for best actor. The emotional timing, the body language, the way he reacted to everything with such honesty---it was perfect. And hilarious. Toothless is the coolest dragon to ever grace the silver screen. No doubt. His design, the way he moves, his attitude---loved it all. The story is epic---the tale of how one open mind, one kind heart, can change the world. There are amazing flying sequences, big battles, and the most perfect moment of father-atonement I've ever seen in a film.


Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of reading Joseph Campbell's "Hero With a Thousand Faces." I guess it's a thousand-and-one faces now that Hiccup is here. Though I feel very knowledgeable about why "How To Train Your Dragon" worked on a psychological level, this did not add to my enjoyment of the film, I can tell you that. Thanks to Mr. Campbell, I had a hard time seeing Toothless as himself, as a big fantastic wonderful scaly creature with wings, instead of everything the dragon symbolizes---the dark and powerful creative/destructive force that lies within us. Near the climax, when I was thinking, "Oh look, what an amazing moment of father-atonement!" my inner child said, "Hey, sit down! I can't see!" and my muse said, "Look, we're trying to watch a movie here." And what with all of that, the moment was lost. It didn't move me as much as I knew it should have.

So I'll just have to go see the film again, and leave my analyst outside in the lobby to study the movie posters.

The writing in this film is incredible. The dialog is lovingly crafted. Watch for the repeated lines that grow in meaning throughout the story, and then turn themselves around at the end. There was a perfect blend of comedy and adventure. Clever word play, situational humor, great visual gags, all that fun stuff, and it all added to the story rather than ever taking away. I laughed hard at the same time I was aching for the characters. The tragedies were tragic, just heart-wrenching. Real cost. Real pain. Real fear.

This is storytelling at its best.

And they did it all with dragons.


Susan Quinn said...

"Thanks for summing that up for me."

The movie was AWESOME. You were SO right! Sadly, a little too scary for my 6 year old, because he would love the animal-love. But someday, I will have to buy the DVD and show it to him.

Love, love, love the story. Let's write one like that, eh? :)

Rebecca J. Carlson said...

Yes, if I could achieve storytelling like that - I would really be pleased with myself.

ladyrach14 said...

Fantasy-fiction is low literature? I don't think so.

Take that, Biff.

Nisa said...

Oh I can't wait to see this one! It sounds fantastic!