02/28/19 – Disassembly




Taking advantage again of the “discount day” at the nearby theater, I saw “How To Train Your Dragon 3” on Tuesday, and it was sweet. I’m an emotional fellow, and cried at all the appropriate places (like the last 10 minutes). 
Although it does bother me sometimes that the reaction it elicited was done in such a cookie-cutter fashion. “It works, why change it?” is a decent philosophy, but I have thought long over the years about how “it works” (when it comes to plots) is a narrow description, because although it did bring tears to my eyes, by tomorrow and I’ll have forgotten every detail of that movie. “It works” isn’t the same thing as “it’s meaningful to me and truly touches me.”
Well, I won’t have forgotten EVERY detail. As far as kid’s fare goes, I think the “Train Your Dragon” trilogy tried to plumb a teensy bit deeper than most.
Anyhow, PLEASE don’t pay too much heed to my opinion here. A writer’s opinion on stories is usually based on a different set of priorities, one having to do with their own daily struggling with reconciling meaningful story on their OWN pages. I am NO meaningful “critic” of media in ANY reasonable sense of the word.


  1. Strain Of Thought

    My only question about the movie is: Did anything Astrid attempted to do not end in failure? Because that was a feature of the first two movies that I wasn’t fond of. With the exception of the dragonball game at the start of the second movie, Astrid never succeeds at *anything* across both movies and even the shorts. It’s a little bit Worf Effect, a little bit Damsel in Distress, a little bit being perpetually forced out of her element, a little bit simply getting screwed by the plot. But by the end of the second movie I’d had my fill of it as it was painful to watch and the stakes were tragically consequential.

    1. 100% screwed by the plot again. She bravely leads a huge raid which fails, and thenthat storyline utterly drops because it was only put in there to show the bad guys — not to serve any plot function.

      Yes, the gender imbalance throughout was pretty bad. His mother also (it was never even proposed-and-shot-down that she should be leader) only had one mission, which failed, and she was really only there to prop up the protagonist.

    1. Kaidah

      Can Eebs even do that? I don’t remember them ever wiping anyone’s memories. Of course, the unclamped Eebs really didn’t care if anyone knew who they were or what they were doing so they wouldn’t have even tried.

      1. Peter Rogan

        But not the similar situation.

        Oh, Devyat, Devyat, Devyat, didn’t your father ever teach you that the mob has neither understanding nor compassion, only an appetite for a justice they are not prepared to comprehend?

        Expecting gratitude from the mob is your crime. The punishment for it will never end.

  2. TB

    Is “It works, so why change it” a bad way to write stories?

    Sorry, but as a Nero Wolfe fan I might be the wrong person to ask. Never mind all of the immensely popular TV shows that I grew up on.

    1. Of course, it’s a matter of preference, not “good” or “bad.” And I KNOW I’m in the minority, so even I take my own words with a grain of salt and wonder at them.

      But, so, it “works” in that it elicits expected emotions at the appropriate times, and so it’s engaging to sit through. But I find that unless there is content beyond that which I find earnest, that I instantly forget the whole thing, and feel just kinda’ icky afterwards. Like the Disney trope of everyone thinking a beloved character has died (Balloo, Dory, etc), only to show moments later that they’re actually alive. It makes me cry, yes, and then it makes me feels manipulated, used, afterwards.

      1. Thracecius

        Disney isn’t the only guilty party, but they certainly are the worst I’ve seen. They bank on their name selling tickets and are prepetually rewarded, so why stop? What they’ve done to beloved characters and franchises is nothing short of criminal, but so long as people keep rewarding them with big sales, they have no reason to change. If they keep acquiring all of the original IPs out there, eventually their monopoly will render movie-going irrelevant. I gave up on Star Wars after the first movie they did and it’s all been downhill from there, unfortunately. I’m sure Indiana Jones will suffer the same fate. And Marvel, while technically in charge of their own business, is doing pretty much the same thing.

        Bland stories are the ‘in’ thing, which is why I read webcomics with imaginative worlds and characters, like this comic. Keep up the good work, Christopher. 🙂

        1. TB

          “Bland stories are the ‘in’ thing, which is why I read webcomics with imaginative worlds and characters, like this comic. Keep up the good work, Christopher.”

          While I fully agree with this sentiment (it’s one reason I read a lot of webcomics, and why my shelf is mostly graphic novels that are not DC and Marvel), it’s ironic that Christopher’s audience sometimes seems to chafe a bit at some of his creative explorations into other realms, and hopes for more Spacetrawler at some point.

      2. Meran

        Which is one BIG reason to avoid Disney projects! I always check who the writer was.

        Chris, keep writing like you are… I, personally, don’t prefer reading the same book (comic, movie, et al) over and over. Writing by formula may work for some writers, and some readers, but many of us like a varied diet.


  3. Muzhik

    I haven’t had a chance to see HTTYD3, but I thought #2 was the perfect Father’s Day movie. The lengths a father will go to in order to save his family? It was at the top of my Father’s Day list until I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, saw Yondo’s sacrifice, and listened to Cat Stevens sing a song I loved since I first heard it in high school.

  4. rws

    Things would be tidier if everybody accidently went out the air lock. Just saying. Or maybe the ship tragically blows up immediately after our heroes leave.

    Assumes that no one has posted this yet. They can stop that if it occurs to them.

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