How To Train Your Dragon Animated Fantasy Movies

In 2010, DreamWorks Animation released the first of its successful DreamWorks Dragons franchise – How to Train Your Dragon – and unleashed a new kind of fantasy and adventure on the big screen. The movies tell the story of Hiccup, a young Viking who must find a way to train a dragon and eventually become the leader of his community. The franchise includes two sequels and one spin-off, but it is the first movie that continues to be the most popular and widely seen.

How to Train Your Dragon sparked interest in both animation and fantasy films by offering a unique, thrilling experience by blending the two genres together. The animation is stunning and the story is compelling, resulting in an unforgettable movie-watching experience that appeals to both children and adults alike. The franchise, which is set in a fictional Viking world, also features powerful, defining characters – each with a clear motivation – and a blend of comedy, action, and emotional scenes, resulting in an unpredictable, heart-racing adventure that spans the course of the three films.

The movie’s success, however, comes down to one thing – its creative and imaginative use of dragons. The dragons, whose shapes and sizes range from scaly and small to majestic and powerful, have different personalities, attitudes, and abilities. From the cute and fiery Toothless to the intimidating and mysterious Night Fury, these creatures become part of the main characters’ lives, offering a unique thrill as they soar through the sky.

What sets How to Train Your Dragon apart from many other animated films is its unmissable, wide-reaching themes. Throughout the franchise’s three films, we can witness Hiccup’s character development and admire the bravery and courage of the other Vikings. Powerful themes such as friendship, family, and teamwork are used to both educate and entertain. Moreover, the relationship between humans and dragons has resonated with viewers over the years, touching their hearts and showing an incredible level of tenderness, despite the fantastical context of the story.

In total, the three How to Train Your Dragons films have grossed over US$1.7 billion globally. This speaks to the success of the franchise and suggests that the movies have struck a chord with audiences worldwide. It has become one of DreamWorks’ most beloved animated films and spawned a number of other projects, including a spin-off TV show, a Broadway musical and even a collection of comics.


The How to Train Your Dragon films make use of a unique blend of unconventional animation styles. While each one has its own unique style, all three make use of computer animation, claymation, and traditional hand-drawn techniques in order to bring the world to life. This careful blend of styles has allowed the filmmakers to create an incredibly detailed and believable world, full of depth, texture, and color. It also imbues each scene with a sense of charm and personality that further immerses the viewer in the story.

The visual style also works in harmony with the tone of the films; the softer, more rounded visuals of the first film help create a gentle atmosphere that contrasts the harsher, action-heavy scenes of the sequel. This is an impressive feat and illustrates the filmmakers’ ability to craft unique and engaging visuals that always serve to further the story.


The soundtrack of How to Train Your Dragon is arguably one of the most integral parts of the entire franchise. The music, composed by English composer John Powell, helps to bring the world of Vikings and dragons to life. Each track captures the energy and emotion of the corresponding scene, making the music an important part of the story. What’s more, the movie’s musical score is considered to be one of the best ever composed for an animated movie.

The soundtrack also plays a major role in setting the tone of each movie. It is used to create atmosphere and to help engage viewers with the story and its characters. For example, during Hiccup’s heroic and courageous moments, the music is explosive, bold, and powerful and culminates in a heartwarming and triumphant score. The music also captures the beauty and majesty of the dragons, further making the movies a joy to watch.


Finally, it is worth noting that the long-lasting success of How to Train Your Dragon is attributed to its powerful legacy. To this day, children and adults alike love the stories and characters of the franchise and audiences of all ages flocked to see the third film in 2019. The franchise has become an integral part of popular culture and it continues to influence a new generation of creators. Moreover, the characters of How to Train Your Dragon even made their way into the record books, becoming the first animated franchise to be featured in Guinness World Records.

Theme Parks

The success of How to Train Your Dragon has resulted in the franchise becoming a part of popular culture and the films have spawned a number of spin-off projects and activities. One of the most notable spin-offs, however, is the How to Train Your Dragon themed ride at Universal Studios’ theme parks. The thrilling ride – which features high-tech animatronics and state-of-the-art projection techniques – takes passengers on an exhilarating adventure through the world of dragons, complete with fire, smoke, and mist.

From the first movie to the thrilling rides popping up in theme parks all over the world, it is clear that How to Train Your Dragon is a force to be reckoned with. Even after two decades, the franchise continues to be incredibly popular and its success is a testament to the creativity and ambition of its creators.


The How to Train Your Dragon film franchise has come to be an incredibly successful phenomenon and its marketing strategy has played a large part in this success. Before the release of each film, a comprehensive marketing campaign was launched that included numerous visual assets, posters and merchandise. For example, ahead of the third movie, a number of toys and game apps were released which helped to build anticipation for the movie and draw in new viewers.

The marketing of the movies has also made sure that their iconic characters have been welcomed with open arms by fans of all ages. To this day, posters, clothing and even toothpaste featuring characters from the franchise can be found. This ability to capture the imaginations of its audience has been essential to the ongoing success of the movies and is why they have become such a major part of popular culture.

Critical Reception

The How to Train Your Dragon franchise has been a massive success from its inception and this is evident in the critical reception that each movie has had. All three films have been rated highly on Rotten Tomatoes, with the first movie sitting at a staggering 98% and the third movie at 92. In addition, the franchise has also won numerous awards including Academy Award nominations for both Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song for the first two movies.

The franchise has also been praised for its empowering messages, offering a much-needed break from traditional fantasy tropes. It dazzles with its visuals, surprises with its characters and touches the hearts of its viewers with its emotional scenes. It is an inspiring tale full of adventure, humour, heart and courage, and it is these qualities that have kept the franchise alive for so long and made it the beloved classic that it is today.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

Leave a Comment