First Take by Satyen Bordoloi
How to Train Your Dragon
A must watch this summer
First Take/Satyen K. Bordoloi
Directors: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler,Craig Ferguson,
Merica Ferrera, Jonah Hill.
Rating: 3.5 on a scale of 5
In most major cinema
halls in India's metros
The best thing about children’s stories is that they are actually commentaries on adults' affairs.
Beautifully veiled inside metaphors, they
are meant to instruct as much as entertain.
A good example is the latest 3D Hollywood
spectacle ‘How to Train Your Dragon’.
And it is as much a must-watch for adults, as it
is for kids.
Hiccup is truly a hiccup. He disrupts others work with his curiosity and over-enthusiasm. His father is chief of a Viking village, which is peaceful but for some pests – dragons, of all shapes, sizes, colours and attitudes. They take domesticated animals and destroy homes.
For 300 years the Vikings have been waging a battle against them. And every kid, including Hiccup, aspires to become a dragon slayer like their parents. Once in a desperate attempt to prove his worth, Hiccup shoots at a deadly dragon called Nightfury that no one has ever seen. The net hits the dragon, but no one believes him.
The next day, while taking a walk into the forest, he indeed finds the trapped dragon. Ecstatic to prove his worth before his father and bullying kids, he readies to kill him. However, when he sees the animal resigned to his fate, he cannot and instead sets him free.
The Dragon has damaged his fin and cannot fly away, nor catch food. Over time, Hiccup takes care of him, builds him an artificial fin, and learns to fly on the dragon. All this he does even as he trains to kill dragons in his village.
A child, it is said, is the father of man. Hiccup discovers that a little kindness and compassion can do what 300 years of war has not managed to do. Sadly, his warring father does not think so. He uses the captured dragon to launch a war against them and finish them forever.
‘…Dragon’ is as much an indictment of war, and warring mentality of adults, as it is of a feel-good, extremely detailed, entertaining and spectacular animation work. Often the wisdom that visits children is missed by adults.
The film makes a mockery of the concept of an ‘enemy’ and the adult propensity to solve any problem with brute force and annihilation of the enemy. When the truth is that the real enemy that prevents us from a peaceful existence is our own impatience and lack of compassion to those that are not like us.
Based up the Hiccup series of books by British author Cressida Cowell, the film uses the latest in animation to give a joyride to the viewers. The detailing in the film inspires a second viewing. And hopefully a sequel will follow soon.
The cast is good. Gerard Butler, being Scottish himself, is perfect as the Viking chief. Jay Baruchel as Hiccup is good. But the best thing about the film is the sensitive direction of Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. They know when to speed up the pace and when to meditate on important moments. Not many directors have that vision.
The problem with most children is that they grow up to be like their parents, forgetting the stories of their childhood and the lessons of kindness and compassion these stories espoused. Thankfully, there always will be books and films like ‘…Dragon’, to remind us of how we truly were and can be in the clutter of what we have become – ruthless and impatient.