One writing goal for this year: write for an hour a day. The other writing goal for 2021: write a screenplay.
How do you read a novel? Do you skim through the words to quickly get to the next point? Do you savor each word or phrase for its meaning? Me? I’m a visual sort of person. So when I read a book, I tend to play a movie in my head.
For the past few years, I’ve been a part of the m/m romance community on Goodreads. I’ve never been a big fan of romances, so my interest in the gay subsection of the genre surprised me. I discovered some excellent authors and some really great books. A few of those books have stayed at the forefront of my mind. They are so entertaining and visually descriptive, I think they’d make terrific movies.
One of my very favorite books is a science fiction “space opera” called Dark Space. (I am a big nerd science fiction fan.) It’s written by Lisa Henry, an Australian author of gay fiction, who has become one of my favorite authors. I first read the book in 2018 and its sequel Darker Space became one of my “top 7 books of 2018.” (Dark Space would have made the top 7, but I had to limit my list to 7, and I liked the sequel even better.) In the summer of 2019, when I broke one leg and then fractured and dislocated the other—requiring hospitalization, surgery, and rehab—I re-read both books while in the hospital because I needed something to enjoy and savor.
The story is by turns funny, heartbreaking, and absolutely frightening. It’s entertaining on so many levels and told so vividly, it’s begging to be made into a movie. It won’t of course, because there’s little room (i.e., money) for gay romance in Hollywood. Hollywood might buy it if one of the main characters were female, but that would negate one of the main premises of the story.
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%!
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?