Alan Smithee

Daddy Time #1 – How to Train Your Dragon

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When I woke up this morning from a long night of podcasting and handling on-call duties from my Clark Kent job. I knew that I wanted to do nothing more than spend time with my daughter at home, being lazy bums, and not doing much of anything except play and watch movies. Unfortunately for me, we only had time to see one movie.

Since both my wife and I work full time jobs, it’s difficult sometimes for us to make time to build some some one-on-one experiences with our daughter. So when I say with all seriousness that it’s a good thing that we had How to Train Your Dragon sitting on the shelf, because I think I may have just found a weekly ritual that I’ll gladly make time to do.

It was shortly after the both of us finished our breakfasts that I got the divine idea to pop the movie into the PS3 and watch it together. I grabbed her favorite stuffed alligator and a blanket and we settled into the recliner together to have our first shared full-movie experience. The only thing missing was the popcorn, which I now kick myself for not making because she’s easily bribed to stay put with the promise of popcorn.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this movie since I heard next to nothing from critics about the movie’s plot, and my friends weren’t much help either because all they would tell me is “Dude, just watch it already!” I have to say, that I was pleasantly surprised by the movie that unfolded in front of us. It wasn’t simply a movie about a viking kid who learns how to train a dragon, but a story of a father being unable to relate to his son. Had I watched this movie 2 years ago, which would be my pre-daddy era, I don’t think I would have connected with Gerard Butler’s character as Hiccup’s dad and all of the hopes, dreams, and fears that we parents face when we look at our kids.

There were some slow moments that caused Kaebrie to start squirming a little bit, namely the parts where it’s exposition and talking (kids never enjoy those moments). I didn’t have as much of an issue with the movies frequent use of the word “kill” as one might think I should, and I think I attribute this to he fact that the movie makers attempt to show us that the mindset of ‘kill all that is not us’ is wrong.

There weren’t a whole bunch of scary moments, but if you too watch this with your younger kids…take a second or two during a few of the really dark action scenes to talk to them. I know that too many people want to keep movies like this from their kids until they’re much older, but I’ve never been one to follow the MPAA guidelines. It is PG if you’re wondering, but I view that as exactly what I was doing, providing parental guidance while watching the movie.

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