[All in the form of a “Sunday Seven,” but on Friday instead of Sunday. Apparently, my mind only works in increments of seven now.]
Two Weeks in Hell Heck
Two weeks ago—TWO WEEKS! FOURTEEN DAYS!—on January 19, I was working on my Outlander season 3 favorite episodes post. I began having difficulty saving the in-progress post as I had no internet connection. Not a big problem, I thought. My router is getting old and it sometimes “burps” offline for a few minutes. I had the backup plan to write the post offline, then copy and paste when the time was right.
Cressida Cowell has a new book in her How to Train Yor Dragon series. After seeing the above tweet and the accompanying trailer (voiced by David Tennant), I rushed to Amazon to purchase the final installment of the adventures of 14-year-old Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third and his Common or Garden dragon Toothless, only to find this isn’t the final book. Rather, it’s a compendium of dragon species, drawn from Hiccup’s boyhood notebook.
Yes, it’s another How to Train Your Dragon Sunday Seven list. It won’t be the last.
Last June, in my first How to Train Your Dragon Sunday Seven, I listed seven unexpected or moving moments from the film. Yet the movie is so rich in its story and animation, there were several things I missed upon first viewing. So here are seven things I noticed upon watching the movie a second time.
Seven Things I Caught When Watching How to Train Your Dragon for a Second Time
During the DreamWorks logo/credit, after the boy in the moon casts his fishing line, a Night Fury flies across the night sky.
Hiccup is left-handed. At the time I hadn’t read any of the books, so I was curious as to why the creators made this choice. Once I’d read How to be a Pirate (the second volume in the How to Train Your Dragon series of books), everything made sense.
Gothi, the village elder, watches the teens’ dragon training session with the Deadly Nadder. She also observes the Zippleback training session, and thereafter is joined by more and more villagers.
Also during Nadder training session: when Snotlout, trying to impress Astrid, throws his weapon at the dragon and misses, the Nadder laughs at him.
Towards the end of the “Forbidden Friendship” scene (when Hiccup tries to befriend the dragon in the cove), after Hiccup has made it successfully through the dragon’s maze, his hand reaching out is in 3-D. Since I’ve only seen the movie in 2-D, I hadn’t realized this was an obvious 3-D “gag.”
When Hiccup and Toothless race through the archipelago without the aid of the cheat sheet at the end of their “Test Drive”), Toothless does a 360-degree barrel roll.
After the teens arrive at the battle scene with the Green Death, Astrid throws a salute to the others when she and Hiccup peel off to save Toothless.
There you have just some of the delightful wonders this film provides. What are your favorites?
And just because it must be said:
Only 88 days until How to Train Your Dragon 2 is in theaters!
The second season of DreamWorks Dragons: Defenders of Berk wrapped up this week, and FX aired How to Train You Dragon last Friday. So this seems like a good time to return to my Dragons obsession. This week we’ll look at the television series. Next week we’ll revisit the movie, and after that we’ll take another look at John Powell’s fabulous soundtrack.
I wasn’t terribly consistent in reviewing the Defenders of Berk episodes at SciFi Chicks, but I never missed an episode (unless thwarted by electricity), and my obsession love for the franchise continues. And so I present…
The composer of the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack was nominated for an Oscar in 2010. He should have won. Yes, we all know the lovely waltz that played when Hiccup and Toothless took Astrid into the clouds, but there’s so much more. I never grow tired of listening to it.
Seven Favorite Songs from How to Train Your Dragon (in chronological order)
“This Is Berk.” It could be called “Overture.” It has many movements and themes that run throughout the movie.
“Forbidden Friendship.” Hiccup feeds the (as yet unnamed) dragon a fish and… you know the rest. In their DVD commentary the directors and producer said this was a 5 minute scene without dialog. That’s extremely hard to do! But the music and the action are so wonderful, you don’t notice.
“See You Tomorrow.” The “Scottish jig” played during the montage of Hiccup and Toothless trying out various flying apparatuses (apparati?), where we learn about dragon nip, chin scratches, and light chasing.
“Test Drive.” The song associated with the movie. When Hiccup and Toothless go for their first long flight, Hiccup loses his cheat sheet, but it turns out dragon and boy are in total synch.
“Romantic Flight.” When Astrid says she’s sorry, Toothless takes her and Hiccup into and above the clouds to see the Northern lights and a view of Berk no one’s ever seen before.
“The Cove.” After returning from the dragon’s den, Astrid agrees to keep Hiccup’s secret and gives him a kiss. The moonlight on the water and an accordion (yes, an accordion!) give the feel of a romantic cafe.
“Where’s Hiccup?” As the debris clears, a distraught Stoick searches for Hiccup. The song continues into the scene of Hiccup waking up, and swells when we realize Hiccup and Toothless are now even closer than ever.
For the record, I’m not alone in my love for the movie and its music. Tom says, “God dammit I love this film way more than is healthy,” and The Platypus Agent notes “Best. Movie soundtrack. EVER.” I agree 2000%!
Cartoon Network is showing reruns of DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk nearly every day. If you haven’t seen this award-winning series, I highly recommend you catch up. Although it’s classified as a children’s show, just like the movie, there’s something for everyone.
The series picks up shortly after the end of How to Train Your Dragon. Now that the Vikings of Berk are no longer killing dragons, living with them takes some getting used to. Along the way, we watch Stoic and Hiccup become truly father and son. And so we have…
Seven Favorite Riders of Berk Episodes
(Although All 22 Are Worthy)
From “The Terrible Twos” (104)
From “Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man” (108)
From “Animal House” (103)
Animal House (103). The farm animals have to learn to live with the dragons before a severe storm sets in. Toothless leads the other dragons to protect the humans and animals when they get caught in the storm.
The Terrible Twos (104). Hiccup discovers a little dragon of unknown species, who causes all sorts of problems for Toothless. Toothless appears to be jealous, but he’s actually trying to help everyone, including the new little guy. (I loved this episode so much, I did a previous Sunday Seven on it.)
How to Pick Your Dragon (107). Stoic gets a dragon of is own, but not before riding Toothless ragged.
Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man (108). A inaccurate portrait of Chief and son leads Hiccup to believe Stoic would prefer a more Viking-like son. To prove himself, Hiccup and friends set off in search of a legendary treasure.
Thawfest (112). For the first time in history, Hiccup has a chance at beating Snotlout in the annual Thawfest games. But, as Astrid notes, Hiccup is not a very gracious winner.
When Lightening Strikes (113). Homes on Berk are being crushed by the weight of dragons sitting on roofs. After building iron perches, Berk is besieged by severe lightening strikes. The townsfolk believe the Night Fury is the cause, and force Toothless to leave the island.
Breakneck Bog (117). When Trader Johann is late in bringing something important to Stoic, Hiccup and the gang go in search of it. Hiccup learns the package is actually for him, from his mother. However, the package is trapped on Breakneck Bog, home of the fabled Fog Monster.
I’m a huge fan of all things How to Train Your Dragon: the books, the movie, the soundtrack, the television series, all of it. There are so many things to love, I could write seven separate Sunday Seven Dragon lists. But that’s just overkill. Let’s start with the movie.
When I first watched it, there were moments I was totally awed, by either the story or the animation. (And I haven’t even seen it in 3D yet!) These are some of those moments. (The list actually started with 11; these seven are the best of the best.)
Danger, danger! If you’ve not seen the movie, stop reading now. Besides possibly ruining the surprise, it might not make sense. And also, what are you waiting for?
Seven Amazing (1st Viewing) Moments
from How to Train Your Dragon (the movie)
Hiccup’s first encounter with the downed dragon: As the camera pans across its wing, its eye opens. (According to the the DVD commentary this was unintentional. But what a great mistake!)
As Hiccup steps through the dragon’s maze, he looks as if he’s dancing. He turns his body rhythmically, and his hair waves with the movement.
When the dragon puts his head in Hiccup’s hand, Hiccup gasps. It’s such a realistic moment, and we feel his thrill.
As Toothless returns to the cove after his first flight with his tail fin (and Hiccup hanging on to his tail), the dragon’s body is reflected in the water. Gorgeous!
On the way to the dragons’ island, the number of dragons flying alongside Toothless is slowly revealed. The numbers just keep growing until dragons have completely filled the screen.
Having been trapped under water while the Vikings are fighting the Green Death (sometimes erroneously called the Red Death), Toothless suddenly resurfaces carrying Stoic. Not only is it a surprise, Toothless’s arched back and curved wings make a powerful yet graceful image.
When Hiccup regains consciousness, he makes his way outside leaning on Toothless. Toothless’s tail sweeps across screen, and we see how interrelated these two are. (Oh yeah, I’ve heard this scene produces audible gasps from theater audiences. )
So those are some of my favorite scenes. What about you? Do you love the movie? What are some of your favorite moments?
[Note: This post is about the How to Train Your Dragonbooks, not the movie. Although the names are recognizable, the stories are quite different. I love both versions.]
I finished reading How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel last night. It’s the tenth (and latest) book in Cressida Cowell’s “How to Train Your Dragon” series. At the end of every book, adult Hiccup writes an epilog. Its style is quite different from the rest of the book. Being written in first person (the stories are told in third person), they are often profound—and quite poetic.
This epilog has a very old Hiccup reflecting that the story is really about mothers. Hiccup’s mother, who up until now, had appeared in only a couple of the books, proves to be a mighty warrior and Hero. And Hiccup’s best friend, the orphaned Fishlegs, learns his mother loved him and had not abandoned him, but had died before she could be reunited with him. [It’s such a beautiful but heartbreaking tale, I tear up thinking about it.]
Is this a sign I should write about my mother? It’s something I’ve been thinking about. She has an interesting story to be told. Perhaps I should get busy telling it.