A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming is a short film that is set between the events at the end of The Hidden World and those in the epilogue that follows the trilogy finale. Fans of the movies will find more of what they’ve come to appreciate in the movies -- sweeping scenery, rough-around-the-edges Viking folk, and heartwarming themes of friendships that defy odds and challenge stereotypes. Unlike the movies, this story has no fighting or even traditional conflict, but there is some mild peril in parts. This installment will make little sense to viewers who do not know the characters' backstory in its entirety, but for families that have enjoyed the characters' unfolding story together, this short tale will be another worth watching.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
As the annual Snoggletog Festival approaches and the residents of Berk prepare for it, Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) realizes with dismay that his kids' lack of exposure to dragons has caused fear of the creatures to creep back into Zephyr's (Madalyn Gonzalez) and Nuffink's (Liam Ferguson) sensibilities. He plans a tribute to dragons for the upcoming celebration in the hope that the whole younger generation will come to see the special bond that exists between them and humans, but fate steps in to change their hearts in an even more effective way. This surprise yields a holiday that neither Hiccup and his family nor Toothless and his will forget.
Is it any good?
If fault can be found with this adjunct tale, it's that it is far too short for How To Train Your Dragon fans' liking, but its brevity makes sense given its placement in the franchise's timeline. The story is nestled in the timeline between the emotional end of The Hidden World and the even more emotional epilogue that's set about a decade later. Dragons and humans have been separated for enough time for a new generation of Vikings to have been born, but because of the timing of their arrival, they've never known the relationship between the two species firsthand. Enter Hiccup and his untraditional (and always humorous) problem-solving skills, and this sweet adventure is set into motion.
Homecoming isn't a great starting point for viewers new to the movie franchise, as it jumps right into the story assuming you know the major players and plot points. But fans who have watched Hiccup's and Toothless's relationship develop over the course of the movie trilogy will find it a heartwarming addition to the saga with poignant sentiments about treasuring the people (and dragons) we love, especially around the holidays.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages about friendship that stand out in Homecoming. In what ways do they demonstrate that friendship can overcome all challenges? Do friends always need to be near each other to remain close?
Why is Hiccup so determined to show his children the truth about dragons? Why is it important to look past stereotypes and discover the truth about someone before judging him or her? When have you seen this play out in your own experiences?
How does Hiccup's relationship with Toothless demonstrate empathy on both sides? What other character strengths do you notice in the people and dragons in this story? How are you able to deduce the intentions of characters who don't speak?
- In theaters: December 3, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: December 3, 2019
- Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson
- Director: Tim Johnson
- Studio: NBC Studios
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship
- Run time: 21 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 5, 2020
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