How to Train Your Dragon is released, and it looks like another creative, entertaining work from the movie geniuses at Dreamworks. I haven’t watched it yet, however, I’m already enjoying the commentary on the movie. I’m increasingly finding that the commentary and controversy surrounding new movies is quite often much more interesting and entertaining than the movies themselves. The commentary thus far on How to Train Your Dragon is enjoyable and provoking, for example, see here and related article here. The criticism being raised is that the work reflects the increasingly popular worldview that good and evil is a myth, or at least evil is; there are only misunderstandings and unfortunate circumstances. Some new age systems of thought posit that evil is a fiction. Moral (and existential) nihilism is also a natural fruit of scientific materialism, the worldview that has held our cultural and moral elite for the better part of a century now. Regardless, How to Train Your Dragon looks like clean, fun entertainment and I look forward to seeing it with the family.
I refused, however, to see Avatar. I became of bit of a pariah when I let it be known to co-workers and extended family that I was boycotting Avatar, or at least boycotting paying theatre rates. One person even commented that I must be hateful if I refused to watch it. The most common comment was that I needed to stop thinking about what the movie might mean and “just enjoy it.” Everyone said it takes cinema to an entirely higher level of performance. Problem is, I don’t think I could enjoy it. Avatar plays a special effect symphony with my list of peeves: corporations are evil; military veterans as psychopaths; European descendants as psychopaths but indigenous and primitive people as enlightened; new age/Gaia as prevailing religion, and finally, non-humans “winning” by killing lots of humans. Aside from the last element of aliens prevailing over humans (a new yuck), each of the rest are worn, left-wing prejudices and standard fare to some degree in most movies, but it’s not typical for them all to show up at once in the same non-satire flick. Two thumbs down says the critic who hasn’t seen it.
UPDATE: We’ve now seen HtTYD … Make sure to see it in 3D. We didn’t. Cute. Criticism is valid. Cute and fun story (except the vikings sounded too much like Shrek), however the moral was the story is that if we take the time to get to know and understand our enemies, we can probably be friends. Sometimes that’s true. In the case of real life dragons, however, it’s dangerous.