Dragons: Riders of Berk discussion thread

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by JD, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    But the sword blade seemed to be longer than the sword handle.

    I loved the realism of the movements and actions in the film. When Hiccup was waving his sword around too long, he had to stop and switch cartridges to keep it lit.
     
  2. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    The second movie was motion-capture, which adds to the realisim - almost too much sometimes, as mo-cap tends to exaggerate certain movements to make them a little too jerky. This one did a fine job of smoothing out a lot of that, but there was JUST enough to take me out of the film a few times. Actually, did they use mo-cap on the first movie?

    Anyway, this movie was just great. Builds, advances, and leaves room for more. Yes it was heavier on violence, but my four year-old girl still loved it (as such I was happy for, but still irked by the blatant cutaway shots to avoid overt gore).

    As to Gobber's self-outing, I thought it was done fine. IMO, we should be okay with a world where one's orientation is accepted and dismissed as quickly as it's brought up. This particular example matches with that - it's why he never married. Alright, we know. No big deal, moving on.

    Mark
     
  3. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Anybody know how the real world Vikings of that period would have felt about homosexuality?
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The Internet knows all:

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/gayvik.asp
    So if Gobber has avoided marriage and procreation due to being gay, that would be more stigmatized than just being gay by itself.
     
  5. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What nobody else seems to be mentioning is the beefcake eroticism of showing the POV shots of the girl looking at the guys' muscles all the time. That kind of reverse-objectification I guess is considered harmless humor. I wonder how parents of a mostly under-age audience would have reacted had they done POV shots of the boys gazing at jiggling boobs instead.
     
  6. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Well, it wasn't his junk we were watching jiggle around... :lol:
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There was a bit of innuendo on this week's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode. A brain-switching machine temporarily swapped April O'Neil and Casey Jones (who in this version are teenagers who are kinda dating), and we saw April in Casey's body angrily telling Casey in her body to "Stop pinching your own butt," though we didn't actually see him doing it. But they had to be subtler about making a breast reference. Later, when Casey was switched back to his own body, the first thing he did was to touch his chest, look down at it, and go "Aww. I kinda liked being a girl."


    I'm always puzzled when people draw analogies between female breasts and male genitalia. They're far from being anatomical equivalents. The masculine equivalent to the breasts is... the breasts. Men have them too, just not developed. And as far as attraction is concerned, women evidently like looking at men's bare chests just as much as the reverse (and in our society they have a much easier time getting to do it).
     
  8. Destructor

    Destructor Commodore Commodore

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    Well I saw the movie on Tuesday and LOVED IT. Epic, sad, hilarious, beautiful, great battles and great script. Really enjoyed it. And finished S2 of the series right before I watched it so it all tied together nicely.

    There are plenty of animated children's movies that show men objectifying women. I would very happily show this movie to my daughter (and can't wait to do so, in fact) and have a chat to her about the gendering of images later (something that you have to do for pretty much every pre-90s Disney film anyway).
     
  9. Destructor

    Destructor Commodore Commodore

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    There was a little bit of Astrid/Hiccup in that she got jealous when Hiccup paid attention to Heather in the S1 finale. But yes I suppose they generally decided not to follow up with that in the series, which I am fine with, although if S3 of Dragons *does* jump to the post-HtTYD2 timeline (which would be cool), it will be sad that we never get to see the following things play out:

    1) Hiccup inventing his flame sword/new leg.
    2) Stoick recruiting his new dragon (in fact no more Stoic at all! Wah!)
    3) The rest of the village recruiting their dragons.
    4) Hiccup and Astrid getting closer/engaged.

    All that said I do hope they jump ahead in time and let us see Hiccup operating and learning as Chief.
     
  10. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    <<All that said I do hope they jump ahead in time and let us see Hiccup operating and learning as Chief. >>

    That'll be Movie Three though ;)
     
  11. Technobuilder

    Technobuilder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I saw HTTYD2 opening weekend because I loved the first film and was anticipating the sequel. It was amazingly good and better than the first one in my opinion.

    Afterwards, I wanted to see when the next one would be out and end up stumbling upon this charming little series called Dragons.

    I just finished Riders of Berk and am just now starting Defenders of Berk.

    I like it a lot and way more than I expected to. As long as they maintain the continuity with the Films, I'm expecting to follow this all the way through season 4 and beyond if it does well on Netflix.

    Can't wait for S3, and I really hope that we get to pick up with the series POST HHTYD2.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Finally saw the movie, which seems to be disappearing from theaters alarmingly fast; only one of my preferred theaters (fortunately the closest one) still had it in 3D (which I've considered a must ever since I saw the trailer in 3D). It was really good, and I'm surprised it's done poorly at the box office.

    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. But Hiccup and Astrid were well-handled. I think Hiccup is a really great character. I love it how his reflexive reaction on learning of a dangerous enemy is "Let's go talk to him and change his mind." That's the mindset that enabled Hiccup to end the Viking-dragon war in the first place and fundamentally transform his society, and it's what I loved about him in the first film, that devotion to the power of ideas and words and reason over brute force. I kind of regret that he wasn't able to win over Drago (whose fate was quite ambiguous, I felt), but he did win over Eret (well, with a lot of help from Stormfly). As for Astrid, I wished she'd had more time alongside Hiccup, but once they were separated, she got to be a leader in her own right, so maybe it was better that way. She and Hiccup did have great chemistry together, though.

    Otherwise, this film seemed to be more focused on the adults than the last one, especially Stoick and Valka. Maybe that's a factor in why it wasn't as successful with the young target audience. I heard some kids around me getting fidgety during the quiet, romantic scenes that had me captivated and teary-eyed.

    What really surprised me was the revelation that a "Nightfury" is apparently a juvenile Godzilla, or maybe a related species. His spines lit up!

    Fortunately, it doesn't seem to have any basic incompatibilities with the TV continuity, since there's a time jump of maybe 4 years between the end of season 2 and the second film, plenty of time for the changes we see. It is a little disappointing that we didn't get any overt references to the show, though. Might've been nice to see a cameo by Bucket and Mulch in one of the crowd scenes, say.


    Nope -- new to the movie.


    It looked to me like it had two or three hinged pieces that unfolded from the hilt.


    Yeah, that bugged me too. The characters' facial performances and body language had a lot of realism to them, but the actual movements did have a certain mechanical quality in some scenes. I think that hand animation actually works better for something like this than performance capture -- although all performance-capture work in film actually is supplemented by hand animation to smooth out the nuances. That could've been done better here, though.


    I'm no fan of gore, but I wish there'd at least been some sign of charring on Stoick's clothes after... you know.
     
  13. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks I like the Beats and the Shouting Premium Member

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    I wish they could have worked Mildew and Bucket from the series into the movie.
     
  14. Destructor

    Destructor Commodore Commodore

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    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.

    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')

    Interesting essay about female roles in HtTYD2 here: http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/how-to-train-your-dragon-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.

    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.

    Would have been nice to see his shield from the show, but I suppose once you have a flamesword...

    Yes, similarly, when the evil Bewilderbeast killed the white Bewilderbeast with a shocking stabbing motion, it was something of a surprise when the tusks came away un-bloodstained. But hey, I'm cool with it.

    The entire audience I saw the film with was weeping after Stoick, well, y'know. Not me, of course. I was just... cleaning my eyes.

    Anyway fantastic film! 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!")
     
  15. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.



    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.
     
  17. Destructor

    Destructor Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Okay, I can understand those reasons. I still personally don't care for the style of music and the sound of the voice, though.
     
  19. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    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. :lol:
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^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.