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‘How To Train Your Dragon’: The Best Of Animated Movies

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

No one likes to rely solely on opinions and personal tastes to prove a point. At least I don’t, I like my facts–and to be right, of course. But I wouldn’t be able to write a piece on How To Train Your Dragon without going in depth about my love and history with the trilogy. How To Train Your Dragon tells the story of Hiccup, a young viking who aspires to hunt dragons, just like his people, more importantly, like his father. Yet, in a turnaround, he ends up befriending a young dragon who he names Toothless, and learns there’s more to them than what meets the eye. The first movie came out in 2010, followed by the second in 2014, and then a third film in 2019 that brought the trilogy to a close. I don’t plan on solely focusing on the sentimental value it holds for me, but I will start with where it all began. No bad story leaves a mark on your life like this, and there lies my first piece of evidence. 

I can’t exactly pinpoint the first time I watched the first movie. I do remember I was at home and only the first and second movies had been released. They had been out for a while, but, as I tend to do, I had gotten to it later than everyone else. I was in my living room and my mother was fussing somewhere between here and there. I pressed play, having no idea it would become one of my favorite movies. I was barely thirteen when I first watched it, a moment in life where one feels a kind of angst only a teenage girl can relate to; where one feels at odds with everything and nothing all at once. I found comfort in this movie about a kid that felt different from his peers and then managed to change the views of everyone around him. I loved it instantly.

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I saw hope in the tale of two very different individuals finding a connection such as Hiccup and Toothless did. But, my sentimental attachment didn’t end with the hope and dreams that I found within the film. It skyrocketed when, one time, during a rewatch of the movies, my mother said I was like “Chimuelo”, which is Toothless’s name in Spanish. I couldn’t exactly see it and was kind of lost as to why she had said it, but it didn’t matter. I was over the moon about it. It wasn’t only the fact that she had seen this dragon character and had noticed I loved it, but that she had made it a part of me. She had connected it to me in a silly way, calling me “Chimuelo,”even going as far as saving my contact on her phone as the nickname. 

Then, it had been a way of being noticed. It felt like a simple yet significant inside joke between us. I was her daughter, the unruly, different “Chimuelo.” Even if she never said it, it was how I chose to perceive it. It meant a lot to me, that she had noticed my love for the films and had connected them to me and me to them. Back then, How to Train Your Dragon (HTTYD) had the power of bringing us closer, in a way. Which, of course, serves as one of the many reasons why I stand by my belief that it’s one of the best films and, well, why I’m even writing this at all. 

My claims are not only backed up by that sentimentality, though. There’s a small but impactful list of factors that support my opinion. You see, I’m not the only one that thinks HTTYD is one of the world’s best animated works. The three movies are in the top ten in Dreamworks’ Rotten Tomatoes, one of them going as far as ranking number one. It also holds steady in a fight with even some of the biggest animated films like Toy Story

I know very little about animation technicalities, but I can admire good work when it’s done. HTTYD has one of the best animations I’ve ever seen. It is not only pretty, but also incredibly detailed and smooth. The animation doesn’t waver throughout the films, which is super admirable considering how difficult it can be to maintain good quality in animation. Trilogies tend to be tricky. Actually, almost every animated movie where we get a sequel turns out to be quite… different from what we expected, but this trilogy doesn’t disappoint. Every film has its own strength and it flows seamlessly from one to the other. Every single movie in the trilogy is fantastic.

My love for the films grew even more when I began reading the stories from the people behind the scenes. Animators studying wings and flight sequences to give the animation an even more natural feel was something that you could see was perhaps not a necessity, but had an incredible payoff once you saw the outcome. There was hardwork and soul put into these films. The stories, adapted from children’s books, were brought to the big screen and changed many lives. The animation, the plots, the depth of the characters, and the flow of the storylines within a universe that you get to grow up with from start to finish, was all done wonderfully. How To Train Your Dragon successfully works the innings of a trilogy without any hiccups (pun intended), and not only does it give a satisfactory ending to it, it leaves space for more if the creators ever want to go back. 

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Very few films and stories are able to do that. And very few films give you ammunition to cry during the credits, and How To Train Your Dragon did that for me. I was overwhelmed with the way it all ended so beautifully. The way this story that meant so much to me came to an end was refreshing. It gave me immense satisfaction to see it come full circle in that way. Once the credits for How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (the third and last film in the trilogy) started rolling, retelling scenes from the very first movie, I was an ocean of tears in the middle of the theater. 

When even the credits are that good, well, who can compete with that?

Lislenny Torres is an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. She enjoys reading and listening to music and believes there is much to understand from the world through art. Writing is a big part of her life, Lislenny takes parts of her every day life and of nature apart and often writes them into a poem or a story.