Today’s post will talk about a movie I still can’t stop talking about: ‘How to Train Your Dragon’. (What a wonderful film, right? LOVED IT!) If you have yet to see it, you’ll have to wait just a few weeks longer or so for the DVD release.
So why am I talking about it now? Several conversations as of late have reminded me of my fascination with the movie, so why not? SPOILER ALERT! If you have yet to see this movie and don’t want a significant incident to be revealed, stop reading!
Assuming that you have in fact scrolled down after reading the SPOILER ALERT, I will ask this: Did anyone else find the movie’s last few minutes a little too intense for a kid movie?
Serious content has become a trend in many films aimed at kids–Pixar’s ‘Up’ and the topic of grief/grieving is a prominent example. But what was so particularly striking about this particular ending was the long term severity of its consequences for the main character.
I’m going to stop talking in generalities and go into specifics: In a nutshell, as the film approaches its end, the audience watches a battle take place, and the dragon [Toothless] saves the boy [Hiccup] from death.
The scene changes, and we are now a day or so after the battle. It is bright day in the village, and yet the movie takes a rather dark turn: as the child removes his blanket to get started with the day, we learn that the battle resulted in him losing a leg.
Yep, I repeat: We learn the boy has become [permanently?] disabled. This ties in to the fact that his dragon friend Toothless was also “different”, where he was missing a part of his tail.
Dealing with disabilities is not a subject that can be easily delved into. It was almost glossed over–when it ends, you get the feeling that it is a happy ending. There is no discussion whatsoever related to the injury.
A permanent disability is a very traumatic incident to include in a children’s film. We’re talking about life long physical and psychological implications.
To present the subject so briefly was confusing at best: What was the thought process or motive with the inclusion of this incident? Did it encourage conversation about disabilities? Not much that I’m aware of. I was surprised I didn’t hear much [if any] discussion related to this conclusion while it was running in theatres amongst disability activists and the disabled.
This is more “food for thought” than anything–as more movies are including sensitive subjects, maybe we should all begin to think more about how to use these situations as opportunities for learning.