Amazing Kids! Magazine

Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon

By Perry S. Chen

4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

How could a wimpy kid who is so different from everyone else defy others’ expectation and become a true hero and leader?

In the DreamWorks animation action-adventure thriller “How to Train Your Dragon,” Hiccup, an eccentric adolescent with a weak build but a strong sense of humor, lives on the Island of Berk, a bustling place full of imposing, muscular Vikings, led by “Stoick the Vast,” the Viking Chief and the father of Hiccup, who could not hide his disappointment for his only son.

In Berk, fighting swarms of nightmarish dragons is a way of life for centuries.  Gobber, the comical blacksmith and dragon fighting coach, is one of Hiccup’s few true friends.  Another genuine friend of Hiccup’s turns out to be one of a different kind: a “Night Fury” dragon, the most intelligent and mysterious kind that nobody else had ever seen before.

One dark night, Hiccup captured an unseen creature with his own flying net.  The next day, he saw the Night Fury dragon: pitch black, fierce, but also injured and helpless.  Seeing the fear in its eyes, Hiccup set it free, a crime against the Viking’s code of conduct!  Hiccup repaired the injured dragon’s tail which he had shot off, and gave him his favorite food: fish.  In return, the dragon (whom Hiccup named “Toothless”) took him on many thrilling flights and revealed to him the deepest secrets of dragons.

The secrets of dragons gave Hiccup a surprising edge in his dragon training.  The problem is that Viking’s sworn enemies are dragons, and with that risk, Hiccup cannot keep Toothless a secret forever…

In the end, Hiccup became an unexpected hero, using his hidden power, ultimately redeeming himself and changing the lives of Viking villagers, forever.

My favorite part of the film is how Hiccup tamed Toothless.  The scene when Hiccup reached out his hand for Toothless to touch for the first time, is the most magical scene in the film.  My favorite character is obviously Hiccup, who seemed wimpy and different at first, but is the one with true power inside.  Hiccup and I also share a passion for dragon and drawing.  I was born in 2000, the year of the Dragon, and consider myself a “Dragonologist,” one of my favorite books that I own is “How to raise and keep a dragon.”  I have drawn so many different kinds of dragons and made tin-foiled animal sculptures of dragon.

More importantly, Hiccup and I share a gentleness, innocence, and kindness towards other living creatures which enabled us to tame wild animals: dragons for him and a deer for me at the San Diego Wild Animal Park when I was three.

Perry Chen's dragon pencil drawing

“How to Train Your Dragons” is an epic tale packed with adventure, action, humor, stunning 3D visuals and beautiful music.  I give it 4.5 starfish, it is as good as Up!  It is a film that I think every child and parent will love to experience.  The movie is about friendship, connection, redemption, and the hidden power of “being different.”

This is the first time that I am invited to a film’s press junket in Beverly Hills and interviewed directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, voice talents Jay Baruchel (Hiccup), America Ferguson (Astrid), and Craig Ferguson (Gobber).  What a five-starfish experience!

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Watch my interviews here and find out about the missing half starfish:

Interview with Co-Directors Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois

Interview with Jay Baruchel (voice of Hiccup):

Interview with Craig Ferguson (voice of Gobber):

Interview with America Ferrera (Voice of Astrid):

“How to Train Your Dragon” is not only a thrilling action adventure, but also a tale with deep emotion and strong morale: Friends are more powerful than foes.  Being different empowers you to see what others cannot.

Perry Chen with Dean DeBlois, co-director and co-writer, How to Train Your Dragon at Comic-Con

Perry Chen with director Dean DeBlois (R) and director Kevin Sean Michaels (2nd left) and moderator Cindy Freeman (L) at film panel discussion during Comic-Con

I met and interviewed co-director Dean DeBlois again at Comic-Con in San Diego in July 2010. He loved my sketch of him and spoke at a film panel discussion with me during Comic-Con. He said that he and co-director Chris Sanders are working on How to Train Your Dragon sequel! In October 2010, Cartoon Network announced that DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon, will be coming to the network as a weekly series in the US and foreign countries beginning in 2012. That means a lot more dragons for us to watch!

Last week, I was thrilled to receive an autographed copy of Dragon Blu-ray DVD from directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders! See photos below. I also participated in “How to Create Your Own Dragon” Contest.

Perry Chen opening autographed Dragon Blu-ray DVD from the directors

Autographed DVD Cover

Get a Copy here!


One comment

  1. Frank H /

    I love your review at AWN. I was commenting there but I got spammed. I said some people can’t believe that a 10-year old (like you) can be intelligent enough to write like you do, and a 70-year old (like me) to say that HOTTY Dragon is a great movie! I’m typing out the dialogue – I’ve watched that film like 20 times already – because I’m going to use the dialogue for my creative writing class, would you believe?!