Many movies aimed at children are abject failures. They pander to kids, pretending they're smarter than their parents, and insult adults, reducing them to simpering caricatures. Soaring and swooping, both visually and emotionally, How to Train Your Dragon avoids those traps, instead playing out as a grand, invigorating, all-ages adventure.
Adapted from a book by
Dragons besiege the island. Thus an annual coming-of-age ceremony involves a young lad or lady demonstrating their qualifications as a Viking by killing a fierce flying creature in battle. Hiccup is all too eager to begin training as a dragon-killer, hoping to prove his manliness, but his father is reluctant to put his soft, gentle son on the battle lines when he seems too gentle and awkward to survive.