Saturday, February 25, 2017

RttE: Season Four Microreview (part 1. The Pros!)

So, season four is finally out! I'm sure most of you who have Netflix have already seen it, and I've logged back into the HTTYD world in order to actually finally write something on my blog! I'm going to be honest in all my opinions about this season, but they really are just my opinions, and I', totally open to discussion. Click the read more to see the review.

The pros!

There were a few elements in this season that really did catch my interest. The first one that comes quickly to my mind is Krogan. According to the credits of "Midnight Scrum", Krogan is the name of the dark skinned individual who worked as bounty hunter tracking down and capturing Hiccup. I'm happy we have a name for him because I was genuinely worried that the directors of the series might be trying to make us think that this character was Drago Bludvist... which would honestly be ridiculous. I love how Krogan sinisterly hints at a conflict that is much larger than the one Hiccup is currently engaged in, and it is always nice to have subtle tie-ins to the second film (like Toothless getting his arm cut and scarred in season three. That was amazing). Anyway, Krogan is an interesting character and I hope we see more of him.

Next pro, one which I am sure many people are very excited about, is that Hiccup and Astrid and now "officially" a couple. This is a pro, but as I will discuss in the next section, I have mixed feelings about it. It was nice to see Hiccup and Astrid moving towards a fully developed relationship. As far as things go, we can at least say that a major breakthrough in this season was that Hiccup actually kissed Astrid, he didn't just get kissed. I'm sure you all know that I'm in no way renewed for my ability to delve into the complexities of "Hiccstrid", so I will leave that to the more qualified fans.

It was good to see Viggo get taken down a peg (and possibly get himself killed). I don't say this because I felt that Viggo was a particularly horrible villain character who needed to be dealt with for the sake of the main characters. Some villains I am happy to see go down because they are such a huge threat or they have caused so much traumatic pain (Drago in HTTYD2), but watching Viggo go down for me was more of an "It's about time" moment. I know the directors of the series worked hard to try and make him seem like a HUGE threat, heck they even made Hiccup go on a vendetta against him, but I've always felt that Viggo was to stiff and "chess-minded" to be a really calamitous threat. Sure, I appreciate having a clever, sneaky villain, but he just seems to pale in comparison with, ahem, Drago. I know some fans actually found Viggo more intimidating, but I have always felt like his own system of play would be his downfall. After all, this isn't maces and talons. There are billions of variables in a world so full of dragons and mysteries, and are we really supposed to worry that Viggo can anticipate them all? 

Bounty hunters. This felt like a realistic development and a mature direction to take the plot. I know we probably won't see an episode like it again, but it was still very interesting. Much like the dragon fighting arena in season 3, the bounty hunters in season 4 feel like they mesh with the movie world of HTTYD. It's mature, a little dark, but not handled in an overly gritty way. It certainly feels like it fits with the world of HTTYD1, a world where Vikings are constantly warring, questing, and getting themselves killed. It was a brutal and scary world. Now that Hiccup has changed Berk for the better, sometimes it is easy to forget that the outside world is still very dark and violent. So, thumbs up for bounty hunters!

Stoick and Toothless. I liked seeing those two hold each other in check when they were searching to find Hiccup. I think it was very in character for both of them to get carried away in the particular instances where they almost killed their defeated enemies. With Stoick, Savage provokes him by blaming Hiccup for the whole mess. That must sting Stoick quite badly. How often has Hiccup been on the receiving end of blame... how often has Stoick placed blame at Hiccup's feet? Now Hiccup is gone and the jab makes Stoick furious. Toothless steps in and protects Savage from Stoick's wrath. After all, Toothless doesn't necessarily understand what has been said, but he knows that both Hiccup and Stoick would look back with regret if Stoick had killed Savage. However, it isn't long before Toothless sees Ryker knock Hiccup unconscious by a blow to the chest, and that brings out the fullness of his draconic fury. It is only by Stoick's intervention that Ryker is spared a fiery death... and again this felt appropriate. (It was also nice to see Toothless totally kick Ryker's butt... but that might just be the boyish part of me that still thinks Toothless is insanely cool when he fights!)

The episode with the Shadow Wings was really charming in the moments where Hiccup and Toothless were stranded together. I do like the other characters, but when you boil HTTYD down, my favorite part is always the interaction between Hiccup and Toothless. The episode (though not flawless) had a fun vibe... especially with the Shadow Wings trapping the two main characters and then stalking them in total Jurassic-Park-Velociraptor-Style! I also appreciated the fact that it looked like Toothless actually killed some of the small dragons. Don't get me wrong, I'm not rooting for the murder of dragons or Vikings, but death in conflicts makes the conflicts feel a lot scarier and more genuine. Plus, this is Toothless. This dragon took out the Red Death, Astrid claims he could blast Drago's whole fleet to "splinters", his blast takes Stoick's life, and he blows the tusk off a Bewilderbeast. He is an extremely power, deadly dragon... and considering he and Hiccup were in real danger, it was nice to see him actually defend his boy to his fullest capacities.

I do love the Triple Stryke, so it was very cool to see it return!

So... that's all the major pros that I can think of. I did enjoy watching the season. I plan to post my list of cons as well. If you LOVED the season, you may not want to read my cons, but that is totally up to you! I will say that I found season 3 of RttE to be my favorite so far, and in some ways I felt that this season unwound that one, but I'll save that for another post!

What parts of the new season did you enjoy? Feel free to comment and let me know!

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