At he behest of my college age daughter, I watched this movie the other night — another cutsie animated movie appealing to kids. Well, I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Yes, it was cute…and animated…but it was a good story!
The setting is viking land and the vikings are fierce fighting people so they are portrayed as large, muscular, and lots of weapons with which to pursue their favorite pasttime of killing dragons. The main character, Hiccup, is skinny, small, and gentle. Not at all like a Viking, and a total disappointment to his father. Right off the bat, I could see that Hiccup, by his very name, was being somewhat bulllied, albeit “nicely”. He showed lack of self-esteem, knowledge that he was different and that everyone teased him or picked on him. His strength lay in the fact that he knew he was good for something…he just had to find out what it was. He chose to prove himself by finding and killing a Night Fury… a dragon never seen by anyone.
I liked that the girls in the gang of kids, were equal to the guys in their training exercises. They were portrayed as strong and capable and sometimes even better than the guys. Good role models.
Hiccup, being forced into dragon-killing class, found that he really wasn’t a warrior and couldn’t kill dragons. Instead, he tried to understand them and tame them so they wouldn’t attack. Being very successful at this, Hiccup came out #1 in the class.
I don’t want to give away the whole story, so I will stop telling what happens. There are several lessons here, though…one, of course, is the bully stuff, another is the strong female part. Also is understanding those that are different and trying to work with them and include them in the culture — a good lesson in diverstiy and acceptance. Accepting people for who they are, even though they might be a little different, and finding the talent they have rather than trying to make everyone the same, is another lesson. Turning hate into understanding is there, too. I could go on and on…
I’m sure the kids look at just the story line. But we adults can enjoy not just the story, but the messages underlying it. And then remind ourselves that it is up to us to carry those messages forward and incorporate them into our daily lives. Maybe our children didn’t understand that part of the movie, but we did, and we need to teach our children those concepts while they are still young so they can enjoy their lives fully as they get older.