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Exalted Movie Mondays – How to Train Your Dragon

October 25, 2010

So, if you’re not familiar with How to Train Your Dragon, I really can’t recommend it enough. It’s a Dreamworks picture, which means you can count on quality, but beyond that it is probably the best Dreamworks picture I have had the pleasure of watching.

The basic plot is not a stunningly new iteration: a young man who is striving to fit in with his culture’s social mores has to decide between blindly following tradition or acting on new knowledge that makes those traditions outdated and dangerous. Hiccup, the protagonist, is raised in Viking culture which prizes slaying dragons. However, when he befriends one of the most dangerous dragons, he has to convince his people that they could work with the beasts rather than kill them.

The portrayal of the dragons is amazing, and the monster designs are adorable. Hiccup’s dragon, Toothless, is clearly the product of Chris Sanders, and if you’re familiar at all with Lilo and Stitch, you’ll recognize his influence. Toothless possesses a number of feline characteristics, and if I could have any one dragon from the movie as a friend/pet, it’d be him. This is not to say the others don’t have their own charm, but in the end, Toothless makes the movie.

Hiccup represents a number of well-known Twilight Caste tropes, being the character who uses his mind instead of his muscle. As you can imagine, this does not endear him to his Viking peoples. On the other hand, his father (voiced by King Leonidas himself) is clearly a practicing Solar Hero Stylist. I have never been so happy to watch a man punch out a dragon before.

In the end, I recommend How to Train Your Dragon because it’s an excellent Exalted resource, especially for stunt fodder and character interaction, but more, I recommend it because you will fall in love with it immediately. It just came out this last week, so grab a copy from NetFlix, Blockbuster, or Redbox, but however you do it, prepare to own a copy. It’s really just that good.

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