"Dominium Over All Creation"
What You Need To Know:
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is funny, entertaining, exciting, and heart-warming family fun. The 3D effects are excellent and exhilarating! The main theme is the reconciliation between Hiccup and his father, as well as the other Vikings. There is also a solid, positive redemptive message about a hero sacrificing himself to subdue and redeem creation and mankind. The movie has some scary scenes, however. And, there are references to the pagan Norse mythology of the Vikings. So, caution for younger children is advised.
(CC, BB, Pa, L, VV, M) Strong redemptive worldview implying that God designed the universe so that all of creation is waiting to be redeemed with a hero who is constantly willing to sacrifice for others, with strong moral elements, with bonds between protagonist and his over-protective father coming to the forefront, but clouded by some disrespect for tradition and mixed with references to the Norse pagan mythology of the Vikings but the nature of the reality in the movie contradicts Norse theology wherein the “gods” must be placated by human and other sacrifice rather than the Christian biblical mandate that nature may be subdued by man’s stewardship; one “h” word, appeals to false gods (Thor and Odin), two light pagan profanities saying “Oh, gods!” and a couple references to someone’s “butt”; strong sometimes slightly scary action violence with dragons attacking people and homes with fireballs, dragons carry off sheep, Vikings fight dragons, Vikings shoot catapults and slings at dragons, big fight with very large dragon, explosions, dragon, people barely survive, teenagers train in arena with how to fight dragons, teenagers almost fall while riding dragons, and people almost drown; no sex but teenage protagonist kisses girl in the end; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking; and, boy is secretive and man prays to Odin, the Norse god, for help with his teenage son, whom he believes is too fragile to be a real Viking, but the prayer invokes the Christian understanding of the true God, not the pagan understanding of the Vikings.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is about the scrawny, brainy son of a Viking chieftain who helps the community end a 300-year feud with fire-breathing dragons.
Young Hiccup wants to be a powerful dragon slayer like his father, Stoick, but Stoick fears for his scrawny, klutzy son. Stoick leaves with the other Vikings to find the dragons’ lair once and for all, but agrees to let Hiccup start training with Gobber, the blacksmith who teaches all the children how to fight the various kinds of dragons.
Meanwhile, Hiccup follows the trail of one of the dragons who attacked the village one night. No one believes him, but Hiccup thinks he hit the dragon with one of his inventions, a special sling.
Hiccup finds out the dragon has lost part of its tail and cannot fly out of the quarry or gully in which it’s trapped. Through a series of trials and errors, Hiccup discovers some of the dragon’s weaknesses, such as how to put it to sleep. This helps Hiccup succeed in the dragon training with the other Viking boys and girls.
Hiccup builds a flap to fix the injured dragon’s tail. And, he makes a saddle and some reins to try riding the dragon. Soon, Hiccup and the dragon, whom Hiccup names Toothless, become fast friends.
Eventually, Hiccup, with help from Astrid, the girl he likes, finds the real reason why the dragons are raiding the town and taking its sheep. He figures out a way to end the feud with the dragons once and for all. The solution, however, just might kill both Hiccup and his father.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is funny, entertaining, exciting, and heart-warming family fun. The 3D effects are excellent and exhilarating! The storyline has a good mix of thrill, humor, and pathos. Sometimes Hiccup is too self-effacing, but his humility is a definite plus in the image he presents to young children who will see him as a role model.
Woven throughout the movie is a moderate, but still pronounced, redemptive worldview implying the biblical truth that God designed the universe so that all of creation is waiting to be nurtured, stewarded and redeemed by men, who themselves are redeemed by the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:21-23), with a hero who is constantly willing to sacrifice for others in the quest of redeeming creation and mankind. Also, the movie has strong moral elements clouded by some disrespect for tradition and mixed with references to the Norse pagan mythology of the Vikings. However, the nature of the ontological and epistemological reality of the movie contradicts historical Norse theology wherein the “gods” must be appeased by human and other sacrifices. Instead, it supports the Christian biblical mandate that nature should be cared for and subdued by man’s stewardship.
In many ways, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is reminiscent of CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS in terms of the father-son relationship, but not quite as uplifting. Thus, in CLOUDY, the son discovers that the father was right about gluttony and the father discovers his son’s genius. On the other hand, in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, the son exposes the failed traditions of his father and the other elders while he discovers a solution to the constant war between dragons and human beings. Thus, the movie could be interpreted as a promotion of the false belief that diplomacy will reconcile all enmity – even with wild animals. In that regard, the yearly news reports of naturalists who attempt to live with wild animals such as polar bears, only to be attacked and killed, is a constant reminder that these wild animals do not have the anthropomorphic motivations and sensibilities to respond to love and reason in the way that a human being has the potential to do. And, there are a plethora of examples that fallen people can be beyond diplomacy, love and reason, and so remain dangerous mortal enemies if they have not first been transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Even so, the movie’s main theme is the reconciliation between Hiccup and his father, as well as the other Vikings. And, as noted, the biblical theme of stewardship and dominium places human beings in the unique position of being able to subdue all creation although that may require a stick rather than a carrot in some circumstances.
The movie has some scary scenes, however, as noted above in the content section, and, there are references to the pagan Norse mythology of the Vikings. So, caution for younger children is advised.
Finally, it must be noted that for some strange reason the Vikings have more of a Scottish rather than the Scandinavian accent of the Vikings.
Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.
What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.
You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.
Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.
Enjoy articles like this? Sign up for our mailing list to receive the latest news, interviews, and movie reviews for families: