Last night my family of five was lucky enough to see the How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular at the Verizon Center. This show was unlike any other we've seen...part movie, part theater, and amusement park ride all rolled into one. As promised, the masterminds behind "Walking With Dinosaurs", Global Creatures, magically brought the enormous, fire-breathing dragons of Dreamworks' How To Train Your Dragon to life, but the producers didn't stop there. Throughout this epic experience the audience was immersed into a soaring landscapes, fiery caves, and the medieval world of the Vikings with huge floor to ceiling projection screens that simulated the feeling of travelling along with the characters whether they were scaling a rock wall, running over glaciers, or flying through a fjord. Perched up high in our seats if felt more as if we were part of a theme park ride than Verizon Center spectators!
If you have little ones, this kind of experience can't wait. There is just something truly special about the look on their faces when they see that dragons actually are REAL. "Wow!" is probably the last word you'll hear from them as they become totally immersed and transfixed by the wonder of it all.
The story is based on the book by Cressida Cowell and brought to the movie screen by DreamWorks Animation (where it was nominated for an Academy Award®). The action follows Hiccup, son of a Viking clan leader seeking to find his own place among his rough countrymen by confronting the menacing dragons who regularly besiege their village. Following his heroic quest through dragon-territory Hiccup catches a dragon, but instead of killing the beast-- befriends it, names him "Toothless" and learns dragons aren't so mean and scary after all. Persuading the other Vikings, keeping Toothless safe, and bringing peace to the warring Viking village is a whole other thing!
As for the dragons, they are so life-like that you will quickly take for granted the meticulous genius that created them. These are not the jerky, animatronic robots of the past. Through their fluid movements these mythical creatures evoke real charisma and personality. In all, 23 dragons appear throughout the show, each with a different personality. Some are fierce, fire-breathing characters with 46-foot wingspans, some are puppy-like and friendly, while others charm the 9 year old boys in the audience merely by passing gas. But whatever your age, you will be awed and impressed by the stagcraft that brought them all to life with incredible details right down to their scaly skin, jagged teeth, and smoky breath.
The live actors do their part too with impressive acrobatics, martial arts, and suspended flight over the arena. And sometimes the least technologically challenging feats have the most story-telling impact, like when Hiccup scales a wall suspended by a rope or creates imaginative drawings of dragons on the floor. The use of shadow puppetry is also simple, but charming. All of these human touches keep the show on a level that children can relate too, while still exciting their imaginations with the fantastical dragons.
If you are worried about it being too scary...its no more so than any of the other animated fairy tales we've seen on screen. There is fighting and non-lethal jabbing at the dragons, but nothing more. If your child can handle a dark movie theater, loud noises, and some swordplay, this show is more than likely right up their alley.
The HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR runs at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. for just a few days, July 19-22, 2012. Regular Ticket prices range from a low of $29.50 to a high of $69.50 (excluding fees). A limited number of premium seats and special VIP ticket experiences and family packages are also available. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets, for showtimes, and for details on how to meet the dragons!
LAST CHANCE TO FOR DC METRO MOM SPECIAL OFFER....SAVE 25% on weekday performances (only Friday tickets now) by entering the code MOM in the promo box which says "MOMMY BLOG". Get great seats for a big discount!
Image Credits: www.dreamworksdragonslive.com
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