Hiccup takes Astrid for a ride on Toothless

Sunday Seven: More Dragons!

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

  1. During the DreamWorks logo/credit, after the boy in the moon casts his fishing line,  a Night Fury flies across the night sky.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Also during Nadder training session:  when Snotlout, trying to impress Astrid, throws his weapon at the dragon and misses, the Nadder laughs at him.
  5. 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.”
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

In a scene from How to Train Your Dragon 2, Toothless plays with a large, colorful dragon.

Could it be that Toothless has a girlfriend?

Sunday Seven: Game Off

Tywin Lannister is a formidable presence.

Worst. Father. Ever. Happy Father’s Day!

Game of Thrones is over for another season, and millions of epic fantasy geeks are counting down the days ’til season 4.  I have a like-hate relationship with the show; watching mostly because I want to know what people are talking about.  But I don’t think it deserves as many accolades as it receives.  Here’s why…

Seven Reasons Why (I Think) Game of Thrones Is Overrated
(ok, maybe just this season)
  1. Too many story lines.  What started as basically two separate but related tales (Stark/Lannister/Baratheon vs. Targaryen) has exploded into… I’ve lost count.  New families have been thrown into the mix, the Starks now have four separate story lines (well, maybe just 3 now).  With the Greyjoys and the Brotherhood Without Banners thrown in for good measure.  And I’m sure I’ve missed some.  Oh yeah, the Night’s Watch.  And there was more than one story line for them this year.
  2. The good guys never win.  Or, as someone on the message boards said, “It sucks to be a Stark.”
  3. Lack of forward plot movement #1:  No one’s closer to the throne. Daenerys Targaryen has raised an army, razed some cities, and freed some slaves.  But she’s made no move towards Kings Landing.  (Ok, maybe she’s waiting for the dragons to mature.)  Stannis Baratheon may be physically closer to the throne, but he’s still an “also ran.”  And Robb Stark?  Well, it sucks to be him.
  4. Lack of forward plot movement #2:   Joffrey is still alive.
  5. Torture is not entertainment.
  6. S-l-o-w (or no) progress.  The Night’s Watch spent two seasons north of the Wall.  Jaime and Brienne spent 1½ seasons getting to Kings Landing.  Bran Stark spent all season to get to the Wall.  And Arya Stark spent all season getting… nowhere.
  7. Because it can’t be said enough, torture is NOT entertainment.

Disagree?  I’d like to hear what you love about the series!

How to Train Your Dragon: Sunday Seven, Part 1

The dragon places  his nose in Hiccup's hand.

All together now—”Aww.”   [Photo credit: DreamWorks]

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)
  1. 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!)
  2. 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.
  3. When the dragon puts his head in Hiccup’s hand, Hiccup gasps.  It’s such a realistic moment, and we feel his thrill.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?