SF elements: dragons
The Vikings live a warlike life, mostly fighting dragons. The chief's young son, Hiccup, longs to fight them too, but is more suited to his blacksmithing duties. One night during a dragon attack he sneaks out, and manages to down a mysterious Black Fury. But when he tracks down the wounded dragon, he can't bring himself to kill it, and instead befriends it, tames it, and helps it fly again. He discovered that the dragons are raiding the Vikings to placate a monster of their own. But can he persuade his fellow villagers that they need to change there ferocious dragon-hunting ways?
This is a fun bit of mind candy, as we watch the underdog Hiccup befriend and come to understand his dragon friend "Toothless" (who looks more like a cousin of Stitch than a traditional dragon). The animation is great, and the story, although completely predictable, is not as paper-thin as many in this genre. Hiccup is world-weary and cynical enough not to fall foul of "cute kid" syndrome. I particularly like the fact that Hiccup has to make several dragon tails, experimenting with different designs, before coming up with a workable solution. And I like the parallels between what he learns from Toothless, and how he uses that to master the captive dragons he trains with.
I'm not sure, though, why all the adult Vikings have Scottish accents and the young Vikings have American accents: is voice coaching part of their coming of age trial?
reviewed 27 December 2012