The Cabbage Review: Flying On One Wing Revisited

This weekend, being the fabulous mother that I am, I took my son to see How to Train Your Dragon in 3D. I will say the 3D part was leaving something to be desired, but then again, I have actually been in an IMAX. To C, the 3D experience was most likely mind boggling.

What I was honestly most impressed by was the story. (Spoilers ahead, by the way!) It started fairly stock with the kid who has a stupid name and just doesn't fit in in his society (Vikings). Hiccup definitely falls into the 'nerd' category which was an instant win for my heart, but as I said, a fairly stock predicament.

Hiccup is not the warrior that the rest of the village is, but he is bright and inventive and creates projectile weapons that don't require much physical strength. Ultimately, his ingenuity allows him to down a dragon no other Viking has ever defeated or even seen. Here's where the story gets interesting for me.

When Hiccup downs the dragon (named Toothless from this point forward), he injures the dragon's rear wing, completely disabling him from flying. Rather than killing Toothless while he has the chance, he shows him mercy and thereby begins a kinship with dragons (the sworn enemy of Vikings). As the bond between Hiccup and Toothless grows, Hiccup works with Toothless to help him fly again with the aid of a prosthetic wing he fashions.

In an interesting twist, the pair work together to save both Vikings and Dragons thus ending the war between them, but Hiccup loses a foot in the battle. Our two war heroes are now both missing a left limb. Needless to say, Hiccup adjusts quickly with the help of his dragon friend.

I found the obvious attempt at war veteran awareness an interesting choice. It isn't something we see frequently in mainstream media, but is it making a comeback? Earlier films that have coincided with wars such as WWII and Vietnam placed some emphasis on the importance of welcoming home our heroes returning less than whole with a very recent example in Avatar. I strongly believe this is saying something very strong about our current engagement in the Middle East. We are seeing soldiers frequently return home minus one or some of their appendages.

It's startling to me that it has come to the point that we must begin adjusting our children to the idea of regularly seeing men and women missing an arm or leg through mainstream media indoctrination. I, of course, feel our children should be prepared to be sensitive to the situation. (I believe every parent has THAT story where their child encounters for the first time someone that either has missing or mangled limbs. It can be a bit embarrassing when they point and yell, "He's got no feet!")

I guess the overwhelming reality of our current situation is just hitting a tad closer to home. But, the lessons learned are as follows:

  • It is possible to fly missing a wing. (See: One Wing Isn't Enough)
  • Flying through life on one wing is always better if you have a good wingman.
Overall, it's a movie worth going to see.


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