How to Write Your Viking Script
We checked the times, there was a showing in 90 minutes, enough to eat dinner beforehand, and off we went.
I can't say I was expecting much. This was an animated film aimed at children (and perhaps also those adults accompanying them) and the ostensible concept, high though it might be, stated emphatically that the story would be a fantasy.
And it was. However, it was also the most exhilarating and, dare I say, touching feature I've seen in a long time. There's always a magic to seeing a film of which you've had no prior knowledge, no expectation--and when such a film delivers the goods the experience is all the richer. (The music and animation are also superb.)
What's more, How to Train Your Dragon is the best Viking film to date. As a friend of mine (also a screenwriter) likes to put it, Hollywood has been intent on finding and exploiting all the various ways of getting Viking films wrong. This movie found one way to do it well.
Sure, the Vikings speak with Scottish accents, wear their crazy horned helmets, and swing preposterously oversized battle axes. Normally, this would drive me nuts. But in this telling there's also a respect, at a most basic level, for the ethos of the North: of the toughness and sinew forged in an unforgiving environment, the fatalistic humor borne of unremitting hardship, the elegance of the design and craft. Mel Gibson, are you listening?
Here, the adventures of a cerebrotonic Viking lad with a knack for scientific method provide a splendid source of entertainment as well as entry into a realm that's been willfully misunderstood for a thousand years. See it.