‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Goes on a Cruise

DreamWorks Animation’s popular animated movie ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ has fans all over the world – including the high seas! In an unprecedented move, DreamWorks formed an alliance with Royal Carribean, a world-renowned cruise line brand, to take its beloved franchises to families on their cruise liners. While the characters from Shrek, Madagascar and Puss in Boots make their appearances on several of the cruise ships, ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ is more exclusive. Hiccup and his friends entertain audiences only on Royal Carribean’s spectacular ‘Allure of the Seas’, currently the largest cruise ship in the world.

Photo by brett Jordan

How to Train Your Dragon on Ice

Allure of the Seas’ boasts of many exotic amenities, such as seven distinct neighborhoods with features including a two-deck dance hall, a theatre with 1380 seats and an ice skating rink, which is where Hiccup and Toothless perform. Fire-breathing dragons and ice don’t sound like the best of companions, but they go together rather well in ‘How to Train Your Dragon on Ice’, the ice show based on the children’s hit movie. With world-class skaters dressed in elaborate costumes to resemble the characters from the film, it is easy to believe that you really are watching Hiccup, Astrid, Fishlegs and the other inhabitants of Berk performing on ice. The team have put together an impressive sjpwan impressive perforformancepressive performance, using a variety of props and special effectst is easy to believe that you’how, using a variety of props and special effects to portray scenes involving dragons and fire. The theme is rather unusual for an ice show, as it involves a lot of combat and running about. This is reflected in the performance, which is fast-paced and action-packed. The show is one of the many creations of Royal Cruise Productions, which has another DreamWorks themed performance titled ‘Move It! Move It!’ as well as innovative creations such as ‘Ice Games’, which is based on the board game Monopoly!

What Die-Hard HTTYD Fans Should Know

The ice show may not satisfy every ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ fan, for it does have its limitations. There is only so much you can do on an ice skating rink, surrounded by audiences on all four sides, when you’re trying to re-create a movie involving dragon riders and fire-breathing beasts. While the theatrical production ‘How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular’ uses a great deal of highly advanced technology to make the stage show as true to the movie as possible, nothing of that scale is attempted in this performance. It is more a blend of the story elements from HTTYD with the style elements of an ice show. That means a lot of figure skating choreography is integrated into the story, and there is heavy reliance on light to convey changes in scenery and setting. There is no real dragon riding during the show, but the cast does a great job of portraying flights on the backs of dragons in their own unique style.

All in all, ‘How to Train Your Dragon on Ice’ is a pretty fantastic performance, and fans of ice shows and ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ lovers who can bear to see deviations from the original movie are not likely to come away from the show disappointed.

How to Train your Dragon – Make your own Hiccup Costume

The stupendous success of How to Train your Dragon 2 has inspired a lot of young fans to dress up as Viking warrior Hiccup and it promises to be a popular costume this Halloween. There’s a line of HTTYD-inspired clothing out on the market, but if you’re a DIY aficionado, you might want to put together a Hiccup costume yourself. It is easy and doesn’t cost a bomb either. Check this out!

A Breakdown of the Hiccup costume

Hiccup is the 14-year-old son of the Viking chief in the first How to Train Dragon and about 20 in the second. He belongs to a warrior tribe and flies atop his pet dragon. Through most of the movie, you see him characteristically dressed in brown pants, a green mid-thigh length tunic/shirt and a fur coat that looks like an open-front vest. His accessories include Viking-style boots and hat, along with a brown belt holding a small dagger.

Putting the Hiccup Costume together

Buy some coarse brown felt or fake fur from the fabric store, cut it and hand stitch or machine stitch onto boot toppers and vest. You can make the belt out of cheap scrap fabric or fake suede cloth or use the same material as the vest. Secure fur on the boots and the belt with iron-on Velcro. If you little guy does not own a pair of brown pants, buy or borrow a pair of cargo or corduroy pants.

For the shirt, check out Walmart or Target for inexpensive shirts in various shades of green. Cut a “V” in the neck and attach the string with an easy slip stitch. If your stitching skills are shaky, use a hot glue gun to secure the string. The “real” Hiccup had slits up the sides of his shirt, so you might want to replicate that for authenticity. Feeling adventurous? Spiff up the shirt with suede leather lacing for a dashing yet understated look.

If you don’t want to spend too much for a pair of shoes, try those inexpensive brown suede knockoff Ugg boots at Walmart or Amazon. A plastic dagger for your little warrior can be bought at any dollar store. Top off this cool How to Train your Dragon outfit with one of those cute Viking hats that dollar stores stock in plenty, but if you can’t find one there, it’s available on Amazon for a few bucks.

All told, the How to Train your Dragon 2 Hiccup costume shouldn’t set you back by more than 30 dollars.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About How to Train Your Dragon

Photo Courtesy – School of Dragons

Photo Courtesy – School of Dragons

The second installment of the Vikings-and-dragons trilogy hit theaters this June and DreamWorks seems to have another winner on its hands. How to Train your Dragon 2 has memorable characters, exciting animation and loads of heart. But then you already knew that. So here are 5 interesting facts you might like to know about Hiccup, Toothless and the motley crew of adventurers that comprise the blockbuster flick.

  1. Toothless’ sounds – The Night Fury plays a prominent role in How to Train your Dragon and part of his popularity with audiences is due to his behavior and personality. The filmmakers made audio recordings of elephants, tigers, cats, horses and elephant seals and the voice of Supervising Sound Designer, Randy Thorn. All of these were put together to create the unique sounds made by Toothless. His personality was inspired by dogs, cats and horses; all of which happen to be extremely popular pets with children.
  2. Astrid’s Character was Created for the Movie – The refreshing romance between the two young Vikings – Hiccup and Astrid – is one of the highlights of the movie. But Astrid’s character (voiced by America Ferrara) does not exist in the books that inspired the movie. The producers felt the need for a strong female character that female viewers could identify with and Astrid fits the bill perfectly. Astrid’s is a strong and compelling personality that commands as much respect and importance as Hiccup’s.
  3. While the movie is based in the fictional location of Berk, the makers scoured several real-life locations to bring it to life. The Pacific coast inspired How to Train your Dragon 2’s water-based locations, while the wind-blown cliffs and raging seas owe much to the director’s memories of Iceland. All in all, the movie’s locations are a nicely judged combination of awe-inspiring locales and vibrant touristy places that will make you yearn to visit them.
  4. Gloria, the calm-tempered hippo of Madagascar appears in a surprising cameo role in How to Train your Dragon. Sharp-eyed audiences can spot her astride one of the dragons that surround Hiccup, Toothless and Astrid as they fly to Dragon Island. Gloria is one of the main characters in the Madagascar series, along with Alex the lion, Marty the zebra and Melman the giraffe.
  5. The movie’s original ending was changed to make it more realistic. Hiccup was supposed to survive the finale mostly unhurt but the directors felt that it would have tested audiences’ credulity too much. Since a Viking would never be able to beat the Red Death Dragon without getting battle-scarred, Hiccup loses part of his left leg, just like Toothless was parted from his left tail fin earlier in the movie.

How to Train your Dragon – The Book Behind the Movie

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Photo by: howtotrainyourdragon.com

With How to Train your Dragon 2 taking the box office by storm, it’s time to go behind the scenes and take a look at the book series that inspired the phenomenally successful movie and its predecessor.

A Quick Look at How to Train your Dragon the Book

Set in the fictional world of Vikings, How to Train your Dragon is a twelve-part series of children’s books, written by British author Cressida Cowell and published by Little Brown and Co. in the United States and Hodder’s Children’s Books in the UK. The first book in the series appeared in 2003 and was a runaway success. The latest instalment in the series came out in 2014 and has won critical as well as commercial acclaim. In addition to the projected movie trilogy by DreamWorks Animation, the books have also spawned several short series and an animated TV series by DreamWorks Animation.

All the books in the series, narrate the adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, son and heir of the appropriately named Stoick the Vast – chief of the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, a warlike Viking clan.

3 Major Characters in How to Train your Dragon the Book

  1. Hiccup Horrendous III

Hiccup is the unlikely protagonist and hero of the Vikings-and-dragons saga, thin, red-haired and intellectual. He speaks Dragonese and is only saved from nerdiness by his excellent swordsmanship. Hiccup owns two dragons – the hunter Toothless and the flier Windwalker. A bite by an evil Vampire Spydragon leaves him paralyzed on the left side of his body.

  1. Fishlegs

Wimpy, squint-eyed and asthmatic Fishlegs is the unlikely hero’s unlikely best friend, but his enemies would be rash to underestimate him. Fishlegs can be cunning when it matters and extremely dangerous in full-fledged battle. Unlike Hiccup, Fishlegs doesn not have aristocratic blood running in his veins – his mother, the daughter of a Murderous Tribe chieftain married an ordinary fisherman. He owns two dragons – Horrorcow a Basic Brown and Deadly Shadow, a three-headed dragon that can emit lightning and flames and camouflage itself when the need arises.

  1. Stoick the Vast

Hiccup’s father and Viking chieftain is a typical warrior – strong but fat and not over-burdened with intelligence. Like any Viking warrior of noble birth, Stoick owns three dragons – Bullheart, Newtsbreath and Hookfang. He is as different from Hiccup as it is possible for a father to be. His character is much the same in the movie series, though the book does not really focus on the strained and complex father-son relationship.

Reading the book series only whets your appetite for How to Train your Dragon the movie! Can’t wait for the third one!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About How To Train Your Dragon 2

As we all excitedly throng the theaters to catch a show of the latest release “How to Train Your Dragon 2”, how much do we really know about the movie? The hard work and conceptualization that have been put into the movie are well known to us, but there still remain a few secrets that haven’t been revealed yet! Let’s find out the 5 things we didn’t know about “How to Train Your Dragon 2”.

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Photo by: howtotrainyourdragon.com

#1

We are all well aware that Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois co-directed ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, while Dean DeBlois took over the sequel, you’ll be surprised to know that they were not the first choice of DreamWorks Animation. Peter Hastings was to take the director’s seat when the studio realized that his vision was shaping up to essentially attract kids, which was not the intention of the producers. The change in the decision proved to be a right move if we go by the movie’s statistics!

#2

Most of DreamWorks Animation’s movies have featured adult protagonists so far. “How to Train Your Dragon” was one of the path breaking movies where the protagonist was a child character. Though he grows up to be an adult in “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and makes us fall in love with him once again, the adorable Tom Sawyer-ish Hiccup finds the regular to be boring and looks forward to exciting adventures!

#3

Did you know the film’s animators were sent to a flight school to get trained in advanced simulation tactics to bring to us a movie that’s world class in its animation with characters who flew and moved realistically in the air? To add to that, the animators graduated with diplomas after the course! Roger Deakins, the living legend of cinematography, was roped in to be a special visual advisor for the film. This explains why almost all of “How to Train Your Dragon 2” was exclusively shot in candlelight!

#4

When Dean DeBlois was signed to direct the film, he had a vision that he wanted to transform into reality. His aim was to portray a land that everybody wanted to visit but in reality it would be difficult to inhabit, much like Iceland. The producers relied heavily on his knowledge of Iceland to capture the film’s bright visual style. Production designer Kathy Alteri also took her team to the Pacific coast in search of locations with watery landforms, colorful hills, and vibrant forests that they could realize into animation.

#5

If you ever thought Toothless resembles Stitch from Lilo & Stitch, you’re not the only one, and you’re certainly not wrong! The director duo of Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois drew inspiration from their previous directorial venture Lilo & Stitch to create Toothless! However, the biggest challenge was to come up with a suitable sound for Toothless. This explains why Toothless’ voice resembles a wide array of living beings – humans, tigers, cats, elephants, horses, etc!

And, now, if you haven’t watched the magnum opus yet, it’s time to head to the nearest 3D theater and embark on some cool dragon racing with Hiccup and Toothless.

 

 

How to Train Your Dragons 2 Movie Review

Frankly speaking, I went to watch the movie expecting to see another in-your-face disappointing sequel, considering the quality of sequels made recently. Thankfully, I hadn’t read up any How to Train Your Dragons 2 movie reviews before I hit the theater! Boy, I was in for some neat surprises! A grand visual delight of dragons who were as colorful as a swarm of butterflies and a story line that’s as well-knit as a winter cardigan have made How to Train Your Dragons 2 one of my all-time favorite sequels.

Hiccup and Toothless

Photo by: Global Panorama

DreamWorks Animation returns with one of the most looked-forward-to animated movies of the year that’s set against the backdrop of a picture-perfect Viking land where dragons and Vikings coexist in harmony and the latter indulge in passionate dragon racing through the clouds and forts of the village.

The movie maintains its rapid, but comfortable, pace and manages to pack in a few pleasant and unpleasant surprises at regular intervals. On the one hand, we have Hiccup who takes on a journey of self-discovery and on the other hand we have Stoick the Vast who’s convinced that Hiccup is destined to take over the reins of Berk. The affable Hiccup and Astrid couple discusses Hiccup’s calling atop a mountain that is surrounded by a beautiful virgin land that Hiccup has never explored and we are almost taken back to our just-out-of-college days when we didn’t have the faintest of idea of what to do with our lives. It’s commendable how an animated dragon movie can establish an omnipresent connection with our lives at regular intervals. I haven’t seen such a beautiful piece of animation on screen for a long time.

When we are almost led to believe that Berk is destined to live in such harmony for the rest of their lives, director Dean DeBlois introduces a twist that I never saw coming! And almost instantly, the film shifts from a congenial animated movie to a serious drama where actions have serious consequences and some consequences that are irreversible. The dichotomy of emotions of a father and an abandoned husband are sounded beautifully by Gerard Butler for Stoick while Cate Blanchet’s mature voice adds enough character to Valka, Hiccup’s long lost mother. Fifteen minutes into the movie, you will be left mesmerized by the vivid display of colors in Valka’s dragon sanctuary and you wish you could be with Hiccup and Toothless experiencing the adventure that is splendidly unfolding in front of you. Together, the duo will take you on a dragon adventure that is endearing and mind-blowing. The visual and emotional density will leave you speechless, and the movie is definitely not for the faint hearted.

Hiccup or Toothless – Who steals the show in How to Train Your Dragon 2?

When watching Hiccup and Toothless in How to Train Your Dragon 2, it is apparent that friendship and peace form the core of the film.The plot is filled with action and marks the return of our terror-inducing yet adorable dragon, Toothless!

At the end of How to Train Your Dragon, we see Hiccup and Toothless fighting off Red Death, the antagonist of the movie, rather impressively. It’s only natural, therefore, that we go into the theater expecting a lot of fight sequences of the duo with new villains, and, oh boy, we are not disappointed by what we see!

Hiccup and Toothless

Photo By: Global Panorama

 

Toothless steals it between Hiccup and Toothless!

The first five minutes of the movie make sure that we feel safe in Berk where dragons are no more a threat. Dragons and Vikings now inhabit Berk in harmony and there is an aura of peace all around. However, some time into the movie, and we realize that danger is lurking upon Berk in the form of a dreadlock wearing villain called Drago, who wishes to dominate the world one day by luring all the dragons into his control. There is another masked dragon rider who is also lurking around and manages to kidnap Hiccup and Toothless to a dragon sanctuary where they meet dragons of all sizes, shapes, breeds, and colors. We soon fall in love with the cooing and gurgling baby dragons who look as adorable as the little Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. And the identity of this mystery rider is sure to come as a surprise for many!

Toothless

Photo by: Brett Jordan

All along the wonderful journey of love and combat, Hiccup is the typical youthful hero out there to fight Drago while Toothless is the adorable, saucer-eyed, feline character with a bulbous nose and an innocent smile that we instantly fall in love with. He flies gracefully in the air while he is a loving monster on the ground staring blankly at people with his round football-like eyes! His expressive facial features portray elation, confusion, anxiety, love, loyalty, and melancholy in a way an actor could never do. His ears flatten like a cat trapped in a storm when he is admonished by Hiccup for a mischief and his eyes roll down like a guilty pup when he foresees another round of rebuke coming his way! He is always capering around while the Vikings are engaged in ‘humane’ responsibilities. Toothless doesn’t talk, and that’s why he doesn’t have anybody dubbing for him (sad, eh?). All that the little monster can do is to emote with his twitching lips, bright eyes, and wagging tail. Hiccup and Toothless make an exuberant pair that we’ll remember for a long time!

It’s not so surprising that this endearing dragon has stolen many hearts. Who do you think stole the show in How to Train Your Dragon 2? Hiccup or Toothless? Go, watch for yourself and decide!

Dragons you can hope to see in How to Train Your Dragon 2

 

While some of your favorite dragons from How to Train Your Dragon will be back, you’ll get introduced to some new ones too in the sequel – How to Train Your Dragon 2. The adorable pets will definitely ensure that your movie experience will be a rocking one!

Toothless

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Hiccup befriends this Night Fury dragon in How to Train Your Dragon when he injures Toothless in a dragon slaying fight. He cannot bring himself to kill the little feline looking dragon and instead nurses and helps him to recover from his wounds. The two start bonding and Hiccup finally names his pet ‘Toothless’! Hiccup creates a makeshift tail-wing that he can use to direct Toothless as they fly together. However, when Astrid discovers this new found friendship between Viking and dragon, she threatens to spill the beans. The duo takes her on a ride through the clouds and the sky, leaving her mesmerized. Eventually, when the rest of the village comes to know of this relationship, Toothless proves his loyalty and love for Hiccup by rescuing his friend from a Monstrous Nightmare.

Stormfly

astrid-how-to-train-your-dragon-2-poster

Stormfly is Astrid’s pet dragon and we’ll see her in the same avatar in How to Train Your Dragon 2 too. We first met the Deadly Nadder in A Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons. She was locked up in the film for Dragon Training, but was eventually released by Astrid when the entire dragon race was fighting against the Red Death. We see Astrid riding on the Nadder, along with the other young Vikings and their dragons, in the climax scene of How to Train Your Dragons 2’s prequel.

Barf and Belch

ruff-tuff-how-to-train-your-dragon-2-movie-poster

Ruffnut and Tuffnut’s Hideous Zippleback dragon has two heads named Barf and Belch. The twin headed dragon has trouble deciding which head goes in what direction and in focusing on one target. However, unlike their owners, the heads can cooperate with each other and work together. Ruffnut and Tuffnut ride upon the Zippleback to fight with the Red Death, just like Hiccup’s other friends.

Thornado

Stoick_riding_Thornado

Photo Courtesy – How to Train your Dragon Wiki

Combining Thor and Tornado, you have Stoick’s dragon Thornado! He is a Thunder Drum dragon who first appeared in the Dragons: Riders of Berk episode of How to Pick Your Dragon on October 3, 2012. He has also made brief appearances in Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Young Man, What Flies Beneath, Breakneck Bog, and Gem of a Different Color where he and Academy dragons work together to save Hiccup and Toothless from the Outcasts. Will we finally get a glimpse of him in How to Train Your Dragon 2?

Wait till How to Train Your Dragon 2 releases on June 13th to catch your favorite dragons and Hiccup back in action!

All Things HTTYD2 – For Fans Who Just Can’t Wait for June 13

Since the release of the DreamWorks animated blockbuster ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, Hiccup and his pet dragon Toothless have become household names for kids and teenagers across the world. In the four years since the movie came out, the HTTYD franchise has inspired a host of spin-off products targeted at faithful fans. With less than two weeks left for the release of the much-awaited sequel ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’, here’s a quick overview of all things dragons to keep fans occupied during the agonizing wait.

Television Series

For most fans of the franchise, the DreamWorks Dragons TV show needs no introduction. It serves as a bridge between the original movie and HTTYD 2, explaining the events that occur in the gap between the two movies. Two seasons have aired so far: Riders of Berk and Defenders of Berk, with twenty episodes each. The show revolves around Hiccup and the other dragon riders and their adventures in training dragons on Berk. Several voice actors who lent their voice to the movie characters also voice the same characters in the television series.

Video Games

When not watching the Dragons cartoons, many fans satisfy their HTTYD 2 cravings by playing related video games. There are a host of games related to the subject of bonding and training with the DreamWorks dragons; here are just a few of them. ‘School of Dragons’ is an MMORPG that blends edutainment with the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ storyline, allowing players to raise and train dragons on the exotic island of Berk. Dragons: Rise of Berk is an iOS game that lets players build their own Berk, rescue and raise dragons and explore new lands. A new video game ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ (to be released in June 2014) is inspired by the HTTYD 2 sport of dragon racing. It allows players to compete in epic tournament events, mini-games and training exercises alongside the characters from the movie.

Books

Not every ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ fan is a gamer – some would rather curl up with a good HTTYD 2 book. Luckily, there are plenty such books for devoted fans. Titan Comics has released a graphic novel series ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ targeting pre-readers and young readers with glossy pages and fantastic artwork. The ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ magazine is packed with games, puzzles and quizzes for fans who can’t get enough of the franchise. ‘The Art of How to Train Your Dragon’ and ‘The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2’ is another treat for HTTYD lovers. The books introduce fans to the creative process behind the films, from the story and characters, to the development of the art and animation for the movies.

Collectibles

There are many cool toys and collectibles for fans who love that sort of thing. The Power Dragon Toothless is a miniature version of Toothless as shown in HTTYD 2, and even comes with the fire blade Inferno that Hiccup uses in the movie. The Dragon Throw Blanket is another cool item that features Hiccup and Toothless as seen in the sequel. Also available are Dragons T-shirts, skateboards, mugs and lunchboxes with images from ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’.

Toothless – Feline or Canine?

Apparently, Gabe Hordos, the supervising animator of How to Train Your Dragon, based Toothless’ physical and behavioral characteristics on his own pet cat! The Toothless that we saw and fiercely loved in the movie was passionately competitive, strongly independent, strikingly graceful, yet extremely adorable, exhibiting mostly feline characteristics. Can we therefore safely arrive at the conclusion that Toothless indeed was a cat that accidentally got transformed into a dragon?

 

DreamWorks released the first five minutes of How to Train Your Dragon 2, sequel to the first dragon movie, as a teaser earlier this month. A particular scene shows Hiccup, the protagonist, getting friendly yet combative with Toothless on a hilltop. Hiccup feigns injury and Toothless promptly ‘brings him back to life’. With each passing second, you’re made to feel Toothless is the adorable feline pet that you’d love to have at home. Hordos reveals in an interview, “At first we wanted him to be like a panther… [Toothless] was full of all this anger and then we had to find ways to make him sweet”. Soon after the discussion on Toothless’ characteristics, he drew inspiration from his red tabby called Stufen, whom he had adopted from Humane Society in Los Angeles. He confesses his friendship with Stufen; first, winning his trust and affection, and then securing a firm friendship; inspired him to create Toothless. “I watched his behaviors and you start to recognize the personality in him … these creatures that have no facial expression can actually be emotive and actually make you feel something,” observed Hordos.

Simon Otto, the head of character animation of both the ‘dragon’ movies, has another interesting story to share, “Most of the animators that were working on [Toothless] are cat people, but our director, Dean DeBlois is a devoted dog lover. This created some really interesting debates during our dailies sessions, but ultimately the best idea would always win.” It’s heartening to know that two very adorable pets inspired one of the legendary dragon characters in the history of animation. So, we have a Toothless who sneers and fights like a feline and cuddles up in good times like a fluffy puppy! Otto explains, “Within a few shots Toothless licks Hiccup the way a large dog would splatter saliva all over his owner, followed by a shot of Toothless tapping Hiccup’s head the way a cat would play with a ball of yarn.”

The animators had to closely study animal behavior, both their own pets and footage available on the internet, to come up with the landmark character of Toothless. Hordos’ association story with Stufen won him a Genesis award in the end; an award that’s given by the Human Society of the United States to commemorate entertainment that involves animal welfare.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 hits the theaters on June 13. Be sure to watch Toothless on all his glory. Whether he’s feline or canine is for you to decide!