DRAGONS!

Hiccup and Toothless have a bond even Alphas can't control.

Our Heros

Have you ever noticed the scar on Hiccup’s chin in How to Train Your Dragon?  I did, but then I’ve watched the movie dozens of times.  Today I learned how he got it, and it’s a lovely, sweet addition to the saga.

Hiccup has a scar on his chin.

Can you see Hiccup’s scar?

Yep, I finally saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 this afternoon.  It’s the first feature film  I’ve ever seen in 3-D.  Truthfully, I barely noticed.  Perhaps my eyes became desensitized to the 3-D after awhile.  Or perhaps I was so caught up in the story, I simply didn’t notice.

Two things I’ve loved about the DreamWorks Dragons television series:  the develpment of Hiccup and Stoick’s relationship; and Hiccup becoming a leader through his role as head of the “Berk Dragon Training Academy.”  It was wonderful to see these two elements carried through in HTTYD2.  Another delightful nod to the series?  Gobber making dragon saddles and performing dragon dentistry.

Comparisons between How to Train Your Dragon and its sequel abound.  It’s only natural, and I’ve done some comparing, too.  But the two are very different films. How to Train Your Dragon is about finding your way in the world, forging a new path  HTTYD2 is more a coming-of-age story, discovering your past and accepting responsibility.

Several reviewers have likened HTTYD2 to The Empire Strikes Back.  It certainly is darker that the first film, the stakes are higher, and the consequences much more dire.

HTTYD2 is extremely emotional—and heart-breaking.  I had read some of the spoilers before seeing the film.  In a way, I’m glad I did, because they were so shocking and unexpected, I can’t imagine what my reactions would have been had I not known about them.

Stoick and Hiccup reunite with Valka.

Reunited!

You might think Hiccup finding his mother was a major spoiler.  Rumor had it that DreamWorks was upset the trailers included their meeting, but I’m sure it was intentional.  There was so much more to come, things I wouldn’t have imagined in a “children’s film.”

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to stop here.  On the other hand, if you don’t mind spoilers, read ahead.

The teens of Berk are now young adults.

Not quite “all grown up”

Five years have passed since we last saw Berk.  Hiccup and the other teens have grown into young adults.  Stoick’s beard has gray in it.  Gobber has several new attachments for his missing hand, including a brush to tame his mustache.  Heck, Stoick and Gobber each have dragons of their own.

Hiccup meets Valka's Alpha dragon, the Bewilderbeast.

The Bewilderbeast, the Alpha dragon

But a threat looms on the horizon.  Drago Bludvist is amassing an army of dragons to take over the world.  Valka, the mysterious dragon rider (and Hiccup’s mother), has been trying to thwart his plans by rescuing the dragons Drago has wounded or left for dead. With the help of the Alpha dragon, the Bewilderbeast, she has created a safe haven for the dragons.  But Drago has a Bewilderbeast of his own, and he plans to destroy Valka’s haven and take control of its dragons.

Astrid confronts Drago Bludvist.

This gal isn’t afraid of anything!

Drago has learned to control his Bewilderbeast, who in turn controls all the other dragons.  In an attempt to show his superiority to Hiccup (whom Astrid has christened the “Dragon Master”), Drago’s Alpha gains control of Toothless (although Toothless fights it valiantly) and orders Toothless to kill Hiccup.  The only reason Hiccup survives is because Stoick throws himself in the line of fire.

One of the spoilers I’d read was that Toothless killed Stoick.  Even knowing this, as I watched the aftermath, I almost expected Stoick to recover.  I also knew that, in his grief, Hiccup would spurn Toothless (once again himself and mourning Stoick).  Fortunately, the rejection doesn’t last long.  But by the time Hiccup realizes Toothless wasn’t himself, the dragon’s back under the Alpha’s (and Drago’s) control.

It’s Toothless’s connection with Hiccup that eventually saves him.  And it’s the fearless fight of the Night Fury that saves the other dragons and Berk itself.

The best endorsement I can give?  I’ll likely see the movie in the theater again, even paying full price, although I qualify for the senior discount.  (I couldn’t figure out how to show my proof of age to the automated ticket machine.)

Incidentally, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is the second highest rated animation film at IMDB, even beating out its predecessor.  Then again, HTTYD2 has only 10% of the votes that How to Train Your Dragon has.

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3 responses to “DRAGONS!

  1. Number One and I finally went to see it today! We really enjoyed it, start to finish.

    I’d been slightly spoiled in that I knew his mom returned and I knew a parent died, but I thought, for some reason, that it was his mother. I didn’t know Toothless did it.

    I love the relationships and friendships in this franchise, even having just seen the two movies and not the show or read the books. It had an excellent balance of humor and gravitas, and the animation was absolutely incredible but unobtrusive so you’re marveling at the action on the screen, not the skill of the people who created it. (Until afterward, because they have to get their due! 🙂 )

    Number One described it best, I think. She felt the weight of Stoick’s death but loved how the baby dragons lightened the load, and then you could walk out of the film feeling triumphant.

    • Whew! I was wondering why no one had commented for weeks. 🙂 I’m planning on seeing the movie again this week. I drove by the theater yesterday and it’s still showing. Apparently it’s been a box office disappointment. 😦

      If you love the relationships, you really need to watch the tv show. It does a wonderful job of showing the growth in Stoick and Hiccup’s relationship, as well as expanding on the personality of the (then) teens.

      The books are completely different, but they’re a joy in their own right. Fishlegs is Hiccup’s best friend, but he’s even skinnier than Hiccup. Snotlout is Hiccup’s older cousin, and he HATES Hiccup. Not just dislike, but wants dead. There is no Astrid, but there is another little girl who’s Hiccup’s friend, but it’s not romantic. After all, Hiccup’s only 14, now, and it’s the next to the last book in the series.

      I like your take on the baby dragons lifting the weight of Stoick’s death. But I was horribly saddened that the white Bewilderbeast died as well. There’s a song in the soundtrack titled “Two new Alphas,” so I thought there was going to be new baby Bewilderbeasts. But the two alphas are really Toothless and Hiccup.

      I wonder what the third episode will be. I’ve heard that DreamWorks now wants a fourth movie as well. I’m fine with that. The more Toothless, the better! 😉

      [Oh yeah. I have a post bout the final two episodes of Believe in my in drafts folder. Do you think that ship has sailed?] ^^’

      • I didn’t know it was a box office disappointment. That’s surprising! But if they still plan to do a third and even a fourth, it can’t be TOO disappointing.

        I bet I would like the TV show! We really liked the way Astrid was handled. She’s his equal, and he never pulled the “you stay back because I can’t do this if I’m worried about you” cr**. And even when Stoick ordered her back to the island, it was to lead the others back there, not relegating her to a lower position.

        I can’t even remember what happened in the finale of Believe! LOL

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