Okay, so I admit I went rabid when I saw this movie with my nieces.
First off, I love flying. When I was a kid, I’d read Goshawk Squadron and Fighting the flying circus and dreamed of flying. I even built a fake cockpit (based on gleanings gained from my many dog-eared World War One books) and took to the skies in my imaginary SE5a (you kids and your Microsoft Flight Simulators!). In my twenties, I built and flew an ultralight around the Central Florida skies. After that, a pilots license. Even my current book, Indigo, draws heavily on my flying experiences, imagining what its like to ride a wind curling beneath your living wings.
I also love cats. All my life I’ve had catty companions. In my adult years, there was the at-my-side Scud East, the angry portly Prince and now Mookie, a daddy’s girl if there ever was one. And since it’s so clear that the Night Fury, the sleek black dragon our scrawny hero Hiccup befriends, is patterned off a cat, all the better.
Flying and cats. How could it miss?
Well, Hollywood can still dork things up and perhaps have dumped a dragon turd of a movie on us, but they got the pace, the setting and characters just right. We slowly learn how a dragon works and what it takes to fly one. We also learn what makes dragons tick, that they hate eels, love to play with flickering light reflections (cats again) and have a sweet scratching spot (and again!). We have humor in the bawdy Viking town, including D&D references that gave me a pained smile, We watch as Hiccup, the kid nobody picks, wants, or hangs with, slowly wins over his dragon companion, the kids of his group, the Viking community, and finally his own gruff father. And the audience. How can we not like such a whiny, klutzy underdog with a heart of gold?
And the flying, as I mentioned, is beautiful. I’ve known it in the seat of my ultralight, and recreated it with Tuft the crow.
So if you’ve missed this one, go out, get it, and put two hours aside to really bask in it. Its glorious, wondrous, fabulous imagery.
And it’s got flying and cats!
BTW – After you’ve seen the movie, start it again and watch very carefully during the Dreamscape logo. Right after the kid swirls his fishing line through the clouds, look to the right. Yeah, did you see it? Funny!