Imagine if dragons were real. Now imaging going to a live show where dragons were put on display and ridden around an arena breathing fire and battling Vikings. That’s exactly what happens in “How to Train Your Dragon – Live Spectacular.”
Based on the Dreamworks animated film “How to Train Your Dragon,” the show follows Hiccup, a Viking’s son, who wants to be a just like his dad. But, after shooting down a dragon, the boy decides not to kill it. Instead, he helps the wounded creature, eventually learning that dragons and humans do not need to fight, but can live together in harmony.
Before going into the live spectacular I was not sure what to expect. I had previously seen the “Walking with Dinosaurs” live show, and was expecting to see much of the same. A few animatronic creatures walking around the arena interacting with actors. But the show was much more than that. While I felt that there were fewer creatures during the show, I was wowed by the multitude of visual tricks used throughout the two hour show. The entire backdrop was a massive screen. Throughout the show, images would be projected onto the screen and floor, creating a 3D environment the actors would interact with. At times, an actor would be be hoised up by a harness running or scaling the screen, making it appear as if he were climbing a mountain or running through a town. The choreography that made this visual trick worked perfectly, as my eyes were fooled, thinking I was actually seeing a man do all of these thing. It was visual tricks like this that really shows how much effort went into making this live spectacle quite spectacular.
But do not get me wrong, the animatronic dragons used in the show were amazing. The detail that went into each creature was amazing. From their colored eyes, to the detailed skin tone, each dragon not only looked different, but acted and moved different. Some dragons moved about the arena differently than other. Some on motorized carts that moved across the floor while others flew throughout the arena, attached to cables on a track.
Coming in at about two hours, I was concerned the show may be too long for some children. But I was amazed at how well it kept the attention of even the youngest viewers. I could tell by each of their wide eyed glares, that they were fully engaged in what was happening in front of them. Some screamed as dragons breathed fire or came out from the dark while others shouted out to the characters, warning them that a dragon may be near by.
While “How to Train Your Dragon” was in our town for a few days, I noticed a lot of empty seats. I am not sure if that was due to it being the last show of the run, or if there was not that much interested in the show in the first place. While the show was truly a Live Spectacular, I feel what hurt it most, was the fact that is a based on a movie, that while a success at the box office, I don’t think many are familiar with. I have never seen the movie, and was never interested in seeing it when it was released. But now after seeing the live action story line, I think I’d like to see the movie, just to see how the two compare.
If you are considering taking your children to see “How to Train Your Dragon – Live Spectacular,” I say go for it. It is an excellent show and fun for both children and adults. Just stay away from the souvenir stand. From light up wands to dragon figurines, those little toys are expensive. If you are worried your younger children getting scared, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. The little ones I sat near were wide eyed and loving every moment of their experience. To find out where “How to Train Your Dragon” is coming in your area, visit the show’s website.