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Old July 2 2014, 03:51 AM   #76
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

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Maybe I've been spoiled by the show, but it seemed that all the dragon riders save Hiccup and Astrid were marginalized this time, with no characterization beyond their various romantic fixations.
Yes this stood out for me too, although I think they went in the right direction for the movie by focusing on Hiccup's arc. While the movie was nicely 'contained' without the need to lean on the series, I do think if you watch the show you will enjoy the second movie more, because you'll have an affection and knowledge of the dragonriders that you wouldn't necessarily have just by watching the first film.
Granted that there wasn't room for the supporting riders to have as much focus as they get on the show, but they could've had more individuality if they hadn't all (except Tuffnut) been uniformly defined by romantic interest. They weren't as differentiated as they were in the first film because they were all acting the same way. When there's no noticeable difference in characterization between Snotlout and Fishlegs, the two most diametrically opposite characters in the bunch, that's a problem.



Agreed! In a lot of ways the 'Dragon' franchise is more 'Star Trek' in it's philosophy than the new 'Star Trek' movies (although I do appreciate that Scotty was a conscientious objector to WMDs in 'Into Darkness')
Actually one thing I loved about STID was how it replicated the Gene L. Coon dynamic ("The Devil in the Dark," "Arena") of having Kirk initially wanting to go in guns blazing against a perceived threat and ignoring Spock's urgings to find a more peaceful path, but then ending up choosing Spock's way after all and trying to handle things peacefully. And they did make a hamfisted effort to continue the theme in the climax with the insistence on the need to take Khan alive, although that fell short because it was more about self-interest than ethics. Still, they did make at least some effort to acknowledge the characters' ethics, which is more than can be said for Man of Steel, say.


Interesting essay about female roles in HtTYD2 here: http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/how-...2-is-feminist/

I think it goes a little overboard (I don't think the movie was *radically* feminist- it was just feminist in comparison to the standard male-focused Hollywood shlock) but I was generally nodding my head.
Yeah, but the standard schlock is so retrograde that even doing this much is pretty radical.

I think it's a superb essay, and it makes me like the movie even better. They're right -- this isn't a movie that glorifies violence and fighting skill as the essence of strength or power. The heroes of this movie are strong, not because of their aggression or skills at killing, but because of their love for others. The theme of this movie was about protecting those you're responsible for. "A chief protects his own." Valka protected the dragons. Stoick protected his son. Stormfly won over Eret by protecting him. And Toothless became the dragons' alpha by fighting on their behalf, not just bossing them around. Just as Hiccup, the smallest, weakest male in Berk, earned the leadership of his friends and now his entire nation by his wise, compassionate advocacy and reason, so Toothless, who's diminutive by dragon standards, triumphed over the daikaiju-sized Bewilderbeast because he was fighting to protect his fellow dragons rather than to be a bully.

We need more screen heroes like Hiccup. When I was a kid, I was raised on shows whose heroes rejected violence and strove for peaceful, compassionate solutions. Maybe that was the result of censorship being stricter back then, but I think too much of that has been lost, and we have so many kids' shows that are built around fighting and violence and weapons, and where the focus is more on being snarky and rude than on having a positive message. I think the Avatar franchise does relatively well -- certainly Aang took a strong moral stand against violence from time to time -- but it's still built around fighting.


I think they are walking a pretty decent line in terms of integrating the show. While I love Thornado, I can totally see why his look wouldn't have 'worked' in the movie (I think the most stunning thing about watching the movie for me was seeing the same world I love from the show rendered so much more realistically!) so they managed to 'mesh' the two continuities- I assume the showrunners are in communication with the film-makers in order to achieve this. I think Dreamworks is generally committed to making the show and the films part of one larger cloth, which is appreciated.
It seems more to me like the moviemakers are completely ignoring the show, but the makers of the show had enough advance notice of what was going to happen in the sequel that they were able to avoid clashing with it. That's the way these things usually work -- strictly one-way. The core franchise does its own thing, and the tie-in creators have to work around it and try to make it look like it all fits seamlessly. The franchise wiki did mention one apparent inconsistency: The movie showed Hiccup fascinated by dragons from infancy, while an episode of the show had Stoick say that Hiccup was afraid of dragons as a baby. Although it suggests that fear could've happened as a consequence of what we saw in the flashback, so it is reconcilable.

Come to think of it, though, there's a bit of a discrepancy with the first movie, isn't there? I recall a gag about Hiccup's helmet being made from one of his mother's breastplates, implying that she was a rather large woman. But here she's actually pretty slender.


Loved that Jonsi track and how they incorporated it with the theme from the first film (which they used a lot in the series, so when it started up I was like: "Nice." and then when it morphed into the Jonsi track I was like: "Amazing!")
You mean the vocal track that was used in the first big Hiccup-Toothless flying sequence and then again at the end of the film? I actually kind of hated that. I love John Powell's themes for the series, and I didn't like hearing them adulterated with a style of singing that I didn't care for at all.


Mr Light wrote: View Post
As someone who only saw the first season of "Dragons"... was there a single actual direct reference to it in the second movie? I didn't see any, unless you count the fact that lots of people ride dragons now including Stoick.
The closest thing I can think of is that Gobber's smithy is shown to specialize in dragon saddles and dragon dentistry, reflecting the events of the second episode of the show, where Gobber was trying to find a new line of peacetime employment. Since that was such an early episode, I suppose it's possible that the filmmakers were aware of it in time to incorporate a vague allusion, although it could just as easily have been coincidence.

But none of the characters or dragon species original to the show appear in the film. The film does mention or depict a couple of species that were introduced in the video shorts and then showed up in the series, like the Whispering Death, but nothing that was introduced in the series.
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Old July 2 2014, 04:37 AM   #77
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

Christopher wrote: View Post
You mean the vocal track that was used in the first big Hiccup-Toothless flying sequence and then again at the end of the film? I actually kind of hated that. I love John Powell's themes for the series, and I didn't like hearing them adulterated with a style of singing that I didn't care for at all.
This song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHOwYqxBbWU

I liked it for several reasons:
  • It incorporates a theme I already enjoyed.
  • It's by the lead singer of Sigur Ros, who I already love.
  • Jonsi is from Iceland, so I associate his singing style with ice, sky, dragons and such, so I thought it was a reall good fit.
  • I love that flying scene and thought having such a joyous track to accompany it really emphasized Hiccup's feeling of freedom and escape.
  • It's a more subtle integration of a song into a film than a lot of animated films might choose, like, a more conventional pop song to promote the movie in other media, so I'm glad they didn't choose to go down that route when creating music for the film.
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Old July 2 2014, 04:28 PM   #78
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

^Okay, I can understand those reasons. I still personally don't care for the style of music and the sound of the voice, though.
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Old November 16 2014, 10:46 PM   #79
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

Just saw the movie again on Blu Ray, and I think it's just about a perfect movie except for the ending.

My only issue is the way that they win in the end. The mother contributes nothing to the solution and Toothless taking control from the Bewilderbeast doesn't really work for me. The great leviathans clearly have a telepathic ability to seize the mental control of every dragon around them (except for babies) and obviously Toothless has nothing of the sort so how could he supplant that?

I think a much better ending would have been that Hiccup had to defeat or distract Drago long enough for the mother to get in front of the Bewilderbeast and do her dance to seize control of him from Drago.

I would also like to know how Drago managed to seize control of that great monstrosity in the first place. Was it merely doing a certain dance? How would he learn that? My friend suggests that the Bewilderbeast is simply as asshole like Drago and was happy to go along with his plans.
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Old November 16 2014, 10:53 PM   #80
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

^I don't think it's telepathy, I think it's just supposed to be an animal instinct to follow the dominant member of the group. Once Toothless asserted himself as dominant, the other dragons followed him, just as the wolves in a pack will shift their allegiances to a new alpha male who defeats the old one.
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Old November 16 2014, 11:00 PM   #81
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

They clearly show the Bewilderbeast vibrating the antenna protrusions on his forehead and a strange buzzing sound coming out when the other dragons go slit-eyed and under his control.

So, the blu ray has a 26 minute "mini-movie" showing the origin of the Dragon racing. But it's done at the quality (CGI and writing wise) of the tv show so I'm pretty sure this is just the third season premiere that's going to air on Netflix in Spring 2015. Like the tv series, it wasn't that great and nowhere close to the level of the second movie.
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Old November 18 2014, 05:52 AM   #82
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

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Like the tv series, it wasn't that great and nowhere close to the level of the second movie.
But... the TV series was great.
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Old November 18 2014, 01:50 PM   #83
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

it wasn't bad but it was clearly geared to a younger demographic than the movies. I didn't see
in the tv show
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Old November 18 2014, 02:04 PM   #84
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

^What does target age have to do with quality? I'm always disturbed by the assumption that "for children" equals "of inferior quality." What kind of society would fob off inferior goods on its children? I find that some of the smartest, best-made shows on television are aimed at younger viewers.

Also, of course, the TV show couldn't kill off a main character because it has to maintain the status quo between movies, so that's not really a good example.
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Old Yesterday, 05:43 AM   #85
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

Christopher wrote: View Post
I find that some of the smartest, best-made shows on television are aimed at younger viewers.
Yeah, I agree. I mean, you can tell the difference between a show that respects its viewers and one that doesn't, whether it's a kids show or not. Shows like Avatar, Batman TAS (and JL), Gravity Falls, Samurai Jack, Clone Wars, they are all made for younger viewers, but I've enjoyed them all as an adult because they all have largely consistent internal worlds populated with appealing characters.

I enjoyed the first HtTYD, but then when I watched 'Legend of the Boneknapper' as a DVD extra I realized I didn't just like the movie, I liked the *world* and wanted more. I was over the moon when they announced the series and even happier when I watched it and realized it aspired to the same sense of fun and exploration that the movie had.

The movies can certainly explore different territory, but I think my love for the show comes in part from spending time with the characters in a way that the movies can't replicate (over longer periods of time), and that certainly enhanced the movie for me, because I felt like I 'knew' the characters more than I would have without the show.
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Old Yesterday, 01:28 PM   #86
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Re: Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

I've never heard Gravity Falls held in that same august company- I haven't seen it... what's so great about it?
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