The moonlight in “How to Train Your Dragon”


The film is based on the book of the same title by Cressida Cowell (2003), was released in 2010 in movie theaters and became one of the most successful animations and earned nearly $500 million. Next to its impressive technical quality of the animation, it is most of all about the story of Hickup, a son of a Viking, who flies directly into the hearts of the audience, with his ability to tame dragons, which was a hostile skill to have up until then.

The full moon can be seen on some movie posters and pictures, but astonishingly, the Moon is not to be seen during the film, but rather the moonlight lit landscape and people.

[night scene starting at 2:31 min]


So this is how Hickup flies with Astrid on his dragon “Toothless” over the clouds and ocean in the middle of the night. You literally expect the Moon, however, other than the Northern Lights, there is nothing to see. Not showing the Moon was probably a conscious decision, just like in so many other animations and cartoons as in Shrek from 2001, which was also created by DreamWorks. The intensity of the nightly scenes was in no way effected, this is how masterfully the moonlight is depicted. In the end it is the sunlight after all, which is reflected by the Moon, and it is from there that it shines onto our faces. It is this indirect effect, in which lies the real fascination.

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