This is Berk. We have dragons now. [Movie Review]

image from http://how-to-train-your-dragon-2-trailer.blogspot.com/

THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER-FREE! :’D

In the animation world, and actually the movie world in general, sequels are practically notorious for being a waste of time and a disappointment to their predecessor. There are movies like Disney-Pixar’s Cars 2 and pretty much any Disney sequel that make you wish the franchise never came to be. But then there are movies like Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 2 that further immerse you in the world of the first movie and make you love the franchise more than you ever thought possible. DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 exemplifies the latter.

I am one of the biggest fans of How to Train Your Dragon. I have never read any of the books, but I consider the first movie one of my favorite movies of all time. I fell in love with the music, the story, Hiccup and Toothless (of course), and the overarching sense of adventure I felt from watching it. There’s just something about a man and his pet that gets you right in the feels, you know? Maybe one of the biggest reasons I liked the sequel so much is that it used what made the first one great and multiplied it. There was still that same heart, amazing music, fantastic story, human-animal bond, and sense of adventure that I loved in the first one. It felt like you were actually returning to Berk instead of watching another movie about it. I truly felt like I was there because I never wanted to leave.

Compared to the first installment of HTTYD, this movie was darker and more plot-driven. While the first movie focused a lot on the growing bond between Hiccup and Toothless as well as the struggling relationship between Vikings and dragons, the second movie throws you into a Berk that has since learned to coexist with dragons, and those bonds are already established. Astrid and Hiccup are still a “thing,” Hiccup and Toothless are closer than ever, and of course Hiccup and his father Stoick are bumping heads. It’s like you never left Berk at all!

Though, according to the movie, it has been five years since you saw Berk last. Hiccup and the gang are about twenty years old and facing actual problems, which is the reason why the movie appears much darker than the first. Dragon trappers, dragon thieves, dragon riders: they all appear in the movie and provide conflicts for the main gang. The film runs 100 minutes, but it certainly feels like less. The movie does a great job of hopping between storylines without becoming too confusing. And, to top it all off, every bit of the movie is a heart-racing and anxiety-inducing experience. I loved every second of it!

I felt like I was on a rollercoaster of emotions from beginning to end, starting with the heartwarming bond of Hiccup and Toothless. I don’t know if it’s because I have a black cat at home who acts just like the cute and deadly dragon, but I just love them to pieces. HTTYD 2 is a great movie for kids and adults alike, especially if you loved the first installment. It does its predecessor justice and then some. I would even venture to say that the movie soared its way into my top 3 favorite movies of all time! So, with those thoughts in mind, you should definitely see How to Train Your Dragon 2. You won’t regret a second of it, though you may regret wearing mascara to the theater.

Rating: 10/10 (yes, I liked it THAT much)


image from http://legendarium.mymiddleearth.com/

Other reasons to see it:

  •  score that won’t dislodge itself from your head ever
  • Kit Harington (you know, JON SNOW) voices a character
  • the feels
  • you’ll appreciate your cat (or dog) more afterwards
  • 20 year-old Hiccup
  • Toothless cuteness
  • you saw the first one so you must see the second one

Let me know in the comments below what you thought of the movie as well! I’d love to discuss my feels with you all.

Until next time, DFTBA!

-Riley

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Percy Jackson was framed and the fandom was not pleased.

Good afternoon, everyone! It is Riley here to bring you a movie review of arguably the worst book-to-movie adaptation ever: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Now I don’t want any hate for this opinion, so I will say this about the movie: it is a perfectly average movie if you separate it from the book. The characters are nicely represented, there’s humor, and Logan Lerman is certainly nothing to complain about. But if you connect the awesome book by Rick Riordan, the movie becomes this terrible conglomeration of book plot and director’s choice. It’s a bit messy and some important parts are taken out and replaced with totally new elements no one needs to see. But, we’ll talk more about that a little later. Onto the review!

Lightning Thief, as the movie is so fondly nicknamed, is one of those movies where you feel like you should be really excited about it but you certainly aren’t. I’m not the only one who has this opinion; even Wal-Mart sells the little sucker for $5 even though it was released in 2010. I remember seeing it in theaters and being so excited to see one of my favorite book series come to life. But, once I saw a huge Poseidon rising out of the ocean and morphing to normal size to meet Zeus at the top of Mt. Olympus, I just couldn’t take it. What the heck was going on? The book doesn’t begin like this! AND THAT GUY ON THE BRIDGE SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO SEE POSEIDON DUE TO THE MIST. WTF?

I am not even joking, the above was seriously my thought process. And the fact that Percy’s schooling was completely cut out of the movie was really annoying. But, I will admit I was happy to see the all-important Sally Jackson (Percy’s mom) and Gabe Ugliano (Percy’s step-dad) make respective appearances. The relationship between Sally, Percy, and Gabe was executed exactly how it was in the book, which I was happy about. Then the whole Minotaur thing was okay, I suppose, but then Camp Half-Blood happened and the fandom died a little.

Now for those of you who don’t know what a fandom is, you must be living under a rock. Knowing my fellow bookies, you are most likely part of a fandom because of the books you read! A fandom is the fan group surrounding a certain work of literature, movie, really anything. Most of these fandoms can be found on tumblr, and PJO (the fandom name for Percy Jackson) is no exception.

When the Lightning Thief came out, the PJO fandom was excited yet cautious. Would this movie live up to Riordan’s awesome books? Would it completely mutilate everything we loved? All questions were answered and the fandom was not pleased. And when Camp Half-Blood was represented, we all took a collective sigh of relief… until Annabeth Chase showed up. The brunette wasn’t anything like we imagined, and certainly nothing like the book described. And Mr. D? No mention of him whatsoever.  Instead of the Luke and Percy “battle” in the woods, Percy throws him off the side of a building into the water. I can keep listing the faults and plot screw-ups, but literally you should watch for yourselves. I’m sure the movie is available somewhere for free because it’s not worth too much.

Overall, the movie was a disappointment if you were looking for a good adaptation. But, if you went in completely free of any preconceived notions, the movie was decent. I suppose in this case watching the movie before the book is completely encouraged and not at all a bad choice. Even if you read the book first, the movie is something you should endure as a sort of initiation into the PJO fandom. Plus, Logan Lerman and Jake Abel aren’t too bad to look at either.

 

Until next time, DFTBA!

-Riley

Hercules is Fab and that’s the Gospel Truth

Rating: 9.3/10.0

So I watched Hercules for the first time in a while last night and I forgot how much I loved it. I was quoting random lines I didn’t know I knew, singing the lyrics to songs I’ve only hummed, and enjoying it almost too much. I remember when Hercules first came out in theaters; I was a lot younger and my parents were the ones who had reservations about it. They were concerned that since it seemed so far-off from mythology that it would be a terrible movie, but boy were they proved wrong! Hercules has become one of the movies my family will sit down and watch without hesitation. We have very few of those movies that we can just pop in the DVD player and roll with (perhaps this line requires a whole different post)m but Hercules makes that cut. I absolutely love it.

Like I mentioned earlier, the plot isn’t spot on with mythology in any sense. My Hercules mythology is a little rusty, but I recall him being a demigod son of Zeus, not the son of Zeus and Hera. I also recall the 8 (I think it’s 8) labors Hercules had to endure, the crushing of the snakes being one of them. So, kudos to Disney for putting that little allusion in there! But regardless of accuracy, the plot is actually very well put together. For those of you who haven’t seen Hercules, the plot is quite simple. Hercules is born to Zeus and Hera, both gods of Olympus. Eventually Hades has his minions Pain and Panic steal Hercules away from his parents because of Hercules’ threat to Hades’ power, Pain and Panic attempt to turn him mortal with a potion, and they try and kill him. Luckily for Herc, he doesn’t drink every last drop of the mortality potion, so he retains his super strength! Baby Hercules gets discovered by two mortals and gets taken in as their son. Eventually Hercules’ true identity is revealed to him, he visits Zeus in a temple, and his life goal is to become a true hero so he can rejoin his parents at Mt. Olympus. Easy, right? Right. Oh, and there’s also a girl who throws a wrench into the plan. Why are we always the plan-ruiners?!

On top of the plot, the characters are also pretty fun. My favorite character has to be Philoctetes (Hercules’ mentor) because of his hilarious one-liners. In fact, most of the characters have amazing one-liners, Phil and Hades being two of the best. All of the characters are pretty lovable except for Meg in my opinion. She’s just a little too snarky and the total opposite of a Disney princess… which is probably why I don’t like her. Oh well, can’t be helped.

I give Hercules a 9.3/10.0 Although I do love almost everything about the movie, the mythology is totally lost. There are some characters I wish had bigger roles (like Hermes), but I can understand how they wouldn’t fit. However, the songs are super catchy, the plot is simple and well executed, the characters are lovable, and the dialogue is unforgettable and highly quotable. If you haven’t seen Hercules yet and you’re looking for a good Disney movie to sit down with, watch it right now! I guarantee you’ll be singing along in no time.

DFTBA!

-Riley