By: Em Cruz
Movie dates took on a whole new meaning when we became parents. Whereas before all it took was a shower, a drive to the mall, purchase tickets and snacks, and sit back and enjoy, a dozen or more so steps were added the moment our daughter came into our lives.
Well for one, we weren’t able to watch any movies for our first few years as parents. And then when she got old enough to enjoy them, we picked only those movies that we think are worth it – because as any parent can attest to, going out with kids is no walk in the park. It takes careful planning and strategizing – even the best laid-out plans take the back seat when tantrums are very much evident. At the same time, we ensure that the movies we do go to are age-appropriate for our daughter and that the movie will be an enriching experience for her.
Which is why I wholeheartedly admit that I’m a fan of Hiccup, Toothless, and their whole gang of dragons from the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. I’ve watched and enjoyed the first two movies with my daughter and will definitely be watching the third with her once it comes out. Why do I (along with other parents, I’m sure) love this movie franchise? Well, let me count the ways:
1. It teaches kids the importance of being and loving oneself.
In the first movie, Hiccup spent some time wanting and trying to be more like his father or even every other Viking in the island – which he is obviously not and he most often got into trouble whenever he tried to conform more. However, he only began to shine when he began to accept and own who he really was and made use of the skills he was really good at. This I think is an important thing we need to show our kids – that we don’t always need to conform and that we become the best only when we are true to ourselves and what we want.
2. It teaches kids compassion.
Perhaps one of the most important lessons we can teach our kids these days is compassion. Compassion means having empathy, understanding, and even kindness or consideration towards others – no matter if he might be your “enemy.” In the first movie, the Vikings treated the dragons as their enemies, but in spite of growing up with this mindset, Hiccup could not bring himself to kill nor harm Toothless when they first met. Instead, he used his skills to help him out with his broken tail – thereby resulting in a beautiful friendship between the two. Their friendship also paved the way into a better relationship between the two species in the village. Without compassion, both Hiccup and Toothless would’ve missed out on this, and the same goes for our kids. Our kids should understand that it’s way better to practice compassion and build relationships, than spew hate and burn bridges.
3. It shows kids that families come in all shapes and sizes.
In the first two movies, we see and learn that it was just Hiccup and his dad (and we see more of his mom’s storyline in the second film). Single-parent households are not really a norm in most kiddie movies and cartoons, wherein we almost always see the hero having both mom and dad and even siblings. So seeing Hiccup grow up to be a successful leader shows kids that growing up with a single parent is not in any way insufficient. It shows them that no matter what size or shape the family is, they will overcome any challenges with unconditional love.
Having said all that, I’m hoping that the third installment – How to Train Your
Dragon: The Hidden World will give us and our kids more life lessons. From the
trailer, I have a few guesses as to what we can expect:
1. It might show kids the complexity of relationships.
In the trailers, we see a new dragon with whom Toothless looks to be quite
smitten with – Light Fury. And I can only assume that this new budding
relationship with these two dragons might be a cause of tension between
Toothless and Hiccup. So it’s quite interesting to see how the movie will
tackle such relationship changes.
2. It might be an emotional way to show both kids and parents the reality of growing up.
Like all good things, How to Train Your Dragon must also come to an end. And in that sense, kids too will eventually grow up – something both kids and their parents must learn to accept. Hiccup’s evolution from the awkward teen who’s unsure of himself, to the man who lost his father, and to the leader he is in the third film is surely an inspiring growing up theme for every kid and even parent. Hiccup, his friends, and their dragons’ journeys show kids that they’re gonna be ok, no matter how unsure they might be at the start – as long as they stick true to themselves, their families, and friends. It serves as a reminder to us parents too – that we should accept our kids as who they are and let them go when the right time comes.
Aside from these lessons, it’s also quite exciting to look forward to the new characters – most especially Light Fury, the dazzling female version of Toothless. At the same time, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World promises us new sights and stunning visual effects – especially when the heroes venture into the so-called hidden world.
If you’re as excited as we are, take a peek at the How to Train Your Dragon:
The Hidden World trailer here:
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World opens in Philippine cinemas
this February 20.
Em is MomCenter’s editor and a doting mom to a decisive yet sweet daughter. When she doesn’t have her hands full of motherhood, she moonlights as a geek and bibliophile. Follow her mom-adventures via her Instagram.