'How to Train Your Dragon' (Dreamworks)Did the creative forces behind a kids' movie sneak in left-wing political messages? How to Train Your Dragon debuted at the top of the box office charts over the weekend, raking in more than $40 million. As I wrote in my review, Dragon avoids the traps that most movies aimed at kids fall into, resulting in a grand, invigorating, all-ages adventure. (And, for those in a position to pay the extra fare, pretty cool 3D effects.) When I was watching it, though, I wasn't aware that the filmmakers had weaved in a "pronounced lefty-peacenik message about understanding your enemy and getting past the knee-jerk instinct to draw swords."

That conviction is expressed by Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere, as he wonders why so few reviews have addressed what is very obvious to him. He points to Kyle Smith's review in The New York Post in which Smith expresses his general disdain for the film, feeling especially miffed by what he perceives as its message: "Really, it's never too soon to get your kids to accept that their own culture is pathetic -- and that the alien one their society is at perpetual war with is really friendly, peace-loving and misunderstood."

On the third hand, Darin Miller at conservative site Big Hollywood praised the message: "In a culture of moral relativity, where no one is good or bad, kids need to see that battles between good and evil exist, and it's up to each and every one of us to fight them." Some of the readers berated him for not denouncing the film for a message that they feel is poisonous (rejecting authority, rules, customs, and boundaries in search of "adventure").

Can filmmakers avoid some kind of political message in movies marketed to children? Should they?