Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2, My Review

Image courtesy of

Disclaimer: Thanks to a partnership between Oklahoma Women Bloggers and, Hubs and I enjoyed a complimentary sneak peek of How To Train Your Dragon 2. All opinions are my own.

I'm NOT a fan of movie sequels, they're NEVER as good as the first movie. I have a very short list of movie sequels that proved me wrong and How To Train Your Dragon 2 is now at the top of that list. The most unique reason this sequel soars to the top of my list is this; we saw the sequel before the original How To Train Your Dragon and it was an amazing story that stood on its own. In fact, we loved it so much, on the way home from work the next day, I bought the first movie and we watched it that night!

How To Train Your Dragon (HTTYD) came out 4 years ago and somehow it slipped past our radar. Hubs and I frequently go to animated movies, yes even without any grandchildren. Often we're inspired, as was the case with Brave in 2012. Sometimes we leave the theater scratching our heads and crossing a video off our list 'to collect for the grand kids', as was the case with Frozen in 2013. 
(We STILL don't get why everyone was so crazy about with that movie.)

We intended to watch HTTYD on-demand so we could get a feel for the characters and the original storyline before we attended HTTYD2. We were sure we'd seen a commercial for it on our cable network but the night before the sneak peek, TV trays loaded with our dinner, HTTYD wasn't in the videos-on-demand menu. Our conversation after this discovery went like this...

Hubs - I'll just go and rent the movie.
Me - Noooooo, we just sat down to eat, I'm starving!
Me - Well crap...should we cancel our tickets? 
Me - We're both so busy at work lately, do you really want to go to a movie on a Tuesday night? 
Me - Will we get it, not having seen the first one?  Will the 3D thing make you motion sick?
Me - Hmmm, this might make an interesting angle to blog about...let's go know I love that damn movie popcorn and it's free!  **I can see now that our conversation was a monologue.**

The next evening, without any expectations, we joined a theater full of HTTYD fans, young and old. The movie was shown in 3D; usually the glasses bug me and I'm too cheap to see movies in 3D, but at this movie, none of that was a concern. I was busy gobbling up the heart of the story, drinking in the beauty of the animation, and stuffing my face with that delicious movie popcorn.

We quickly caught on to the basic storyline; a father's expectations versus a son's dreams. Set in a mythical era of dragon-riding Vikings, we were swept away by the adventures of Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his trusty companion Toothless (voiced by the Randy Thom.) We learn that Hiccup has some physical challenges that he cleverly conquered with his mechanical adaptations. He's an explorer and his days are spent mapping out the world as he discovers more of it from the back of his dragon. Given his physical stature, he won't be the robust chief that his father is, but his talents will serve their village well in other ways.

I won't tell you the whole story but the recurring themes were exceptional! Discovering your own unique talents and trusting them to create the life you dream of; believing in the possibilities of your ideas against the objections of doubters and haters; respecting those who are different from you; and learning to harness the power of cooperation for a greater good.

Here are 6 things that I admired about the movie and its message.

1. There were epic battle scenes, but not gore.
2. Life is full of defeats, but also amazing triumphs.
3. Anger and regret are best defeated by forgiveness and redemption.
4. Hooray for strong female characters full of spunk and sass!
5. There is always evil in the world, but when we come together in love, we can defeat it.
6. A parent's love is pure, not perfect.

The only thing about the movie that I thought might be a concern for parents was a Viking funeral. It wasn't a very long scene, but be prepared for questions from younger children.

Don't you just love when an audience applauds after a movie? How To Train Your Dragon 2 got a standing ovation at our theater. Take yourself and your family to this movie! It's visually stunning, heartwarming, and thought provoking; we can't wait to add this video to our collection. Maybe I'll even get Hubs to take me to see it again at the drive-in before the summer's over. 

My only other recommendation for this movie - try some Milk Duds with your popcorn, it's delicious!

I Heart Dragons,
Rose Marie B


Monday, June 9, 2014

It Takes a Village, Right?

From the open-air, top floor of my parking garage, I stepped into the elevator…grateful for the bright sunny Monday and the pavement still wet from the overnight rain. I pushed the Main floor button and started my descent.

At the floor below, a father and his son joined me. This is the second father/son team I’ve seen since summer break began and I think it's so cute. The boy was about 6 years old and he was jabbering away as he hopped into the elevator. When the doors closed, he waived his little finger over the numbered elevator floor buttons, turned to me and asked which one I was going to. I said “I think we’re all going to the M - that stands for the main floor.” (I was looking forward to a short conversation with a little don't see too many in the downtown area, but...)

No sooner had these words left my mouth, his brow furrowed, voice raised and he replied in a surprisingly belligerent way, “I KNOW!” I was speechless, waiting for a reprimand from his father, but nothing came. I didn’t look at the father standing to my left, for all I know he may have been on his phone, ya know, doing more important things.

We rode the remaining five floors down in silence and as I stepped out of the elevator and into the cool morning, I was furious! The first three thoughts that came to mind as I stomped to my office were these:
  • I was mad that the father for not correcting his son’s inappropriate behavior. Maybe he was as shocked as I was but I hate to think that a parent, even a shocked one, wouldn’t take the opportunity to correct their child, ask them to apologize and teach them the respect of others.
  •  I wondered if this behavior was the accepted behavior in their home. Surely he’s not allowed to speak to his own grandmother in this way.
  •  When the father didn’t step up to the parenting plate, maybe I should’ve spoken up and let him know in my ‘many a true word is spoken in jest’ way; something like ”Gosh you don’t need to be mean to me. I was just trying to help.”
If my grandgirls speak to me in a way that shows any lack of respect, all it takes is a very nice “Excuse me?” with lifted eyebrows and they get the hint real fast. They know to re-word the question, take down the noise level or to re-evaluate the tone with which they speak to me. There’s nothing angry about it, just a little ‘check yourself’ reminder.

Ahhh the good ol' days.
Maybe this little boy had some social behavior challenges and if so, I totally get that and I would approach his behavior with a more empathetic heart.

It takes a village to raise a child, isn’t that what they say? So where do you start this whole village thing? Here are my 3 questions:
  • Was it my place to react to a child I'd never met, when his parent was apparently so absent?
  • Did I do them both a disservice and further condone his behavior with my silence?
  •  What would you do? Stay quiet and stew like I’ve done this morning or would you have taken a more proactive approach?
 I'm feeling like one of those grouchy old people, bitching about parents and their bratty kids these days.

Yours truly,
Nana Rose

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Throwback Thursday, 1971

Slobbery thrills at the Oklahoma City Zoo, 1971

On a hot summer day, we'd grab a loaf of Wonder Bread and head to the Oklahoma City Zoo. We'd clamor to the third row seat of our 1970 red Chevy station wagon with its wood-paneled sides. Dad would roll the back window down and my sister and I would prop our feet on top of the fold down gate, watching the scenery fly by, backwards. No seat belts, no cares in the world.

Feeding any animal that would come close to the fence, sometimes we'd run out of bread quickly. Other times, if the crowds prevented us from getting within arms reach of the exotic animals, we'd resort to snacking on the bread ourselves. A few times the bread bag became a weapon of exhaustion; it's an amazingly effective flail against your sister. As the big sister, I was usually the one swinging the bag. Apology number one billion for my mean sister ways...I'm sorry Cathy.

These were the days of Jacques Cousteau exploration and watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom as we ate Sunday dinner. I thought of my Dad as our very own Marlin Perkins. He could answer any question we had about the animals and it never occurred to me that he probably just read the educational signage on the fence. When we came to the sun bear enclosure, my dad would wave (with bread in his hand) and the bears would wave back...amazing!

Feeding of the zoo animals is no longer allowed and certainly for good reason. The zoo now offers healthy options for you to feed to the giraffes for only $3. Hubs fed the giraffes last summer and it was still just as thrilling. Same purple tongues, same slobber, same matter the age of the person feeding the animal. I would highly recommend it.


So on this Throwback Thursday, I celebrate the fact that I'm 'we used to feed the zoo animals Wonder Bread' years old.

Loving the Oklahoma City Zoo for almost 50 years,
Rose Marie B