Which is to say, we went to see How to Train Your Dragon today, and I adored it.
Now, I'm not going to claim it's the best movie ever made. The story is classic "misunderstood misfit saves the world and everyone discovers he was great all along" straight out of Disney, down to the absent mother. But another way to look at it is as about the bond between humans and animals, and being a sucker for the cute beasties, that's where it tugged successfully on my heartstrings. (Okay, maybe it's not a realistic portrayal of the human-animal bond, since dragons are, you know, fictional. But still. If you like boy-loves-dog stories, you'll really like this.)
Toothless, the dragon pictured above, is one of the most adorable creatures I've seen on film in a long time. The moviemakers did a lovely job creating an animal that's a reptile yet combines the most appealing characteristics of cats, dogs, and horses, and feels entirely real. (More real, even, than the humans, who are supposed to be exaggerated and caricatured.) The scenes where Hiccup first encounters Toothless, and the flying scenes, are visually gorgeous. And although the action sequence at the end is, again, not that original, well, it's DRAGONS! Do I really care about originality? No!
The thing is, though, that Toothless, in his cat-like elements, really really REALLY reminded me of my old black cat that we had to put to sleep last summer. REALLY. A LOT. So, um, I kind of cried almost every time he was on the screen. And totally sobbed at parts. Poor NLLDH is very kind to put up with my sentimentality. (It was kind of like seeing Finding Nemo and Ratatouille after my dad died - in both those movies, the main character is forcibly separated from his dad, and watching both, I sobbed and sobbed. Yeah. You all really want to go to the movies with me now, don't you?)