DreamWorks Dragons (2012–2014)
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For adults there's also entertainment; The landscapes are precious, the jokes funny and the action moments make you hold your breath. It's light and happy, the perfect series for enlighten your mood and believe in magic again.
The episodes are well-structured with unique story lines along great character development and the concept that shows solving the situation to every problem. The writing is also pretty good with some witty and hilarious jokes that would never make you stop laughing your head off. The episodes that touched me was where Hiccup leaves Toothless at the Dragon Cove where he first met him and leaving him far away in an island from Berk in the one part-2 episode, which almost made me shed a tear. The characters are likable as ever and some of the voice actors from the original film did great voicing them with great spirit and energy while the villain named Alvin The Treacherous is amazing with some menacing voice work from Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. The music is very amusing with some of the same motifs from John Powell's original score for the first film.
Overall, Dragons: Riders of Berk is a great TV show that would leave die-hard fans of the movie dying to love it. Due to it's recommendable value, this deserves a solid thumbs up from me!
In terms of timeline advancements between the two films alone, the second film has many differences to the first which are yet to be explained and accounted for in the first 3 seasons of Dragons, such as the way in which 'Dragon Racing' is so fundamental in their world in the second film and yet remains unmentioned in the series. Additionally, subjects such as the intimate nature of the relationship between Hiccup and Astrid in the second film have not been expanded or developed after 3 seasons of the series and there are still no elements of romance in their relationship. Lastly, although this has partly come to be in terms of the wingsuit Hiccup possesses, there are many technological advancements that remain unmentioned in the series, such as Hiccup's multi-functional false leg depicted in the second film.
Of course, none of these issues of chronology and continuity hamper the magic of the series at all, but I do believe it is important for the writer's to consider these issues when it comes to the future development of DreamWorks Dragons in order to prevent any loop holes and logic that could potentially create a block to full enjoyment of the series.
Of course they didn't have the same budget as for the movie to make this series, you can see the CGI is less polished, which isn't that big of an issue for me. Worse is the fact, they didn't get all the original voices(i watched this in German, may be different for other languages) The story lines are a little uninspired and lack the deepness of the movie. This of course is inevitable in 20 minute episodes. They are nonetheless okay, as why i would still recommend this for your kids.
Overall i'd say, stick to the movies :)
Unlike most kid's fare around these days it doesn't pander to random humor and trying to be "cool". It instead uses plausible situations and character development to drive a narrative forward, the way kid's shows used to be until the late 2000's. It carries on pretty much exactly where the first film leaves off and portrays Hiccup's difficulties in assimilating dragons into Berkian life and facing off against several different villains. Of these three, Dagur the deranged is the best written, and even I find myself smiling at some of his lines and mannerisms.
The score to the show is surprisingly well done, with John Ceazarone taking Powell's themes and implementing them quite well in each episode. The animation is certainly not on par with the film's themselves, and as a result Hiccup and Toothless can look a bit strange at times, but this is understandable and shouldn't impede the viewing.
The writing and plots are mostly predictable for the aged and educated viewer, but still has a surprise every now and then that redeems it. The jokes, while occasionally repetitive and catering to a young audience, still keep the show interesting, and there is occasionally a particularly good one that will stay in your head a while.
If you loved the first movie and now the second I would advise seeing it. You will certainly not be disappointed and it will give the fix of dragon you'll need to hold you over until the third film.
Just a real quick overview of the series in general: it doesn't really seem to have a set time of where it begins in terms of the movie. It does however look like it happens a little after 'Gift of the Night Fury'(still doesn't clear up the time line) because the teens know that dragon eggs explode. Next, the quality is not as great as the movie, but that can be chalked up to a limited budget so don't let it distract you too much. Lastly, it's main focus is on the teens and their dragons trying to help Berk get along with its new residents. While most people are willing to cooperate, there are some who aren't willing to let go of grudges. It also expands on ideas that were mentioned in the movie and digs deeper into the characters.
One thing I like about the series is that it's easy to see how the teens grow in their relationships with both their dragons and each other. At the end of the movie, we see the teens begin to respect Hiccup and the series expands on that. There are some exceptions, mostly with Snotlout, but when the situation calls for it they'll listen and be there for him. Next there's the awesome relationship between him and Toothless. In almost every episode, it's obvious that the pair have grown close and will do whatever it takes to protect each other. In the episode 'The Terrible Twos', the pair go through a small split that results in Hiccup stranding Toothless in their cove. In the end however, they make up and realize how important it is to listen and trust one another, which continues on for the rest of the series.
There's also the focus on Hiccup and Stoick's family relationships and conflicts. 'Gift of the Night Fury' offered a slight glimpse of them trying to work things out and the series picks up from there. The first is when Stoick gives Hiccup the old dragon killing arena to use as a Dragon Academy, showing that he's willing to trust his son with responsibility. In 'Alvin and the Outcasts', Stoick is generally worried about Hiccup when he finds out that Alvin the Treacherous, their greatest enemy, has taken his son and in a later episode titled 'We are a Family: Part 2'. Also, Stoick is willing to embrace his son's ideas by accepting his own dragon in 'How to Pick Your Dragon', something he claims earlier goes against their Viking traditions. During this episode, it seems like Hiccup's efforts do not work due to his father's stubborn and Viking-like attitude, but at the end it shows that Stoick does listen to his son (though he'll deny it). The greatest example of their improving relationship is in 'Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Young Man'. In this episode, Hiccup goes on a small quest to prove to his dad (and himself) that he can be the kind of Viking they think he should be. The challenges in this quest (which even Stoick took on) are only solved by Hiccup being himself, proving who he is to both himself and his father. The end of the episode shows the two standing side-by-side with Stoick's arm on Hiccup's shoulder, eyes filled with pride.
And let's not forget the Hiccup and Astrid romance here. Surprisingly, there's very little focus on that. Instead, the focus is on them becoming good friends who offer each other advice and brutal truths. When Hiccup is faced with a conflict he can't solve on his own, Astrid is one of the first people who offers to help him. In return, Astrid sticks by him to make sure he follows her advice and keep him from getting killed (which happens quite a bit). There's a few glimpses of their blossoming love: when they huddle close together for warmth in 'Animal House' only to back away from each other embarrassment, Astrid giving him playful punches on his arm, and when Astrid grows jealous of Heather in 'Heather Report: Part 1/2' because the other girl is stealing Hiccup's attention (there's a bit more to it but don't want to spoil it from here).
So while the series has some of its amazing moments, there's also some parts that drag it down. I won't dwell into those though much because those types of matters depend on your opinions. I can go on about the series, but I'll stop here before I give everything away.
To wrap it up, 'Dragons: Riders of Berk' is a very good series that helps strengthen (and sometimes weaken) the franchise in general. It's a bit more serious than DreamWorks' other spin-off series, but it works well due to the nature of the movie and can be off-set by its comedy (also sometimes weak). For those of you who can't get enough of 'How to Train Your Dragon' and can't wait for the second movie, this series is great for you. Besides, I heard that this and the next series, 'Dragons: Defenders of Berk' which will premiere sometime in September, deal with events that occur between the two movies so its probably good to see what happens.
OK, have to admit I'm 36 and probably far off the target audience ;). For kids 5-10 it might still be a great series.
I realised immediately that the budget was lower, that they had clearly avoided using the usual high quality hair and cloth modifiers and visual effects like motion blur to cut down on the animation and render time and hence save money. The models also felt a little less polished with empty environments and lower quality animation... this however would be fine if the story was good. It wasn't. The first episode opened on a lengthy sequence which relied solely on the visuals and lacked any real story or decent dialogue.
Surely if you are producing something with a lower visual budget it would make sense to have top notch writing... and this is why I find this series perplexing. It almost felt like a spin off produced by a group of amateur fans rather than a real studio.
To be fair I have only watched the first episode and skimmed the second to see if it got any better but there is a very good reason for this. The film has a quite amazing ability to lift me from even the worst moods which is truly a rare thing. I feel if I watched this series the whole way through it would just ruin it for me. The first episode simply bored me, it lacked that unique spark that the film possessed and I basically failed to see why it had even left the drawing board...
I would have much rather seen them spend the money on a short 15-30 minute one off special like those produced for WALL-E or Shrek.
I think I actually read somewhere that Stoic's voice is voiced by a different person which absolutely blew my mind! All of the other voices are the same though, which is fantastic.
I can't wait to start watching Dragons: Defenders of Berk
Also, one last thing, the opening sequences to this series gave me shivers, i knew as soon as i saw it that I would be in love with this series
The excellence of the animation alone is mind-blowing. From every movement of Hiccup and the gang, to every plasma blast, spine shot and sheep "baaa" feels real enough to reach out and touch. The art of the Vikings brings a sense of reality to a fantasy story that will be remembered for decades to come.
What I found most interesting was the extra feature. They are making a live stage performance of the film, including flying, underwater scenes, and fire breathing dragons. And to think I was fascinated by "It's a Small World" in 1964.
The short features are limited to 22 minute episodes, which is not enough time to tell a great tale, but long enough to tell an interesting one.
Hiccup goes on a wild/fun adventure with dragons in this epic sequel to the series. He overcomes Red Dead, the little pacifist has saved Berk.
I thought his dad was SUPER annoying, but otherwise, the series is fun to watch and not babyish at all.
Though, the movie was sorta corny, I agreed with hte other user but the series is good for kids of all ages, G and the movie's rated PG, for the violence, it doesn't get to severe.
I saw an episode of it today, not bad, I'm going to have to watch more of htis... I'm hooked@
Yes the animation is cheaper, obviously Netflix can't afford the millions of dollars it costs to make flawless CGI like Dreamworks's. And first and foremost this is a G RATED KIDS SHOW, it HAS to be wholesome. And for that the writers still do an amazing job working in large vocabulary, sophisticated humor, and phenomenal dialogue.
Trust me, those of you who judged this show within the first few episodes, you made a mistake. The overarching plot is dark, there is major character development, and most importantly it's a FUN show that helps continue the magic for those of us, adults and children, who loved the movies and previous series. I'm so glad Netflix picked up where Cartoon Network left off.