If I could relive any experience...
...it would be my second time watching this film. See, the first time the audience was composed of youngsters with their parents, who didn't get much of the jokes or story and pretty were here just for the sake of going to movies. That viewing was pretty quiet, with only two laughs and some polite applause at the end, but otherwise dead silence.
Additionally, the first time watching this film I was evaluating it. Its 98% on Rotten Tomatoes
surprised me, so I was critiquing it to see if it was worth of such a nearly perfect score. Since I could recognize such much of the plot devices
, I concluded it was alright, but nothing spectacular.
But then for the next year I saw the response of the Internet. The hordes of Deviant Art
work painting beautiful interpretations of the characters. The rewatching of clips from this film and finding the cinematography and music uses. The analyses on this very page suggesting a deep and meaningful narrative. From that my mind was re-widened. Could it have been a better film than I thought?
On the second viewing, it was a riot. Everyone was laughing the whole time at the jokes and gags now, yet were in awe at the spectacle on the screen. There was tangible tension in the air when the story climaxes arose, and real appreciation and feeling at the more heartfelt moments. Everyone loved it. It was exactly what a film viewing should be.
Oh, right, umm, the review. Well, what sold me the first time on HTTYD was Astrid's portrayal. I liked that she was shown as someone who genuinely wanted to be a great fighter and thus had a true motive, rather than being a token "girl who is tough". While most cliched works would have Astrid turn seductive once Hiccup turned "the dragon fighter", here she tried to compete against him, was mad when he stole her spotlight, and didn't have an interest in being anyone's girlfriend. That independence was refreshing, and made it more believable when she chose to accept Hiccup in the end. The second time let me see how the film set up its own story better. The tropes used were recognizable, but the film actually put thought in how it used them, rather than just lazy writing. For a year with many amazing animated films
, this one was a worthy addition.