Friday Thoughts: Things I’ve Noticed

Like many of you, I enjoy going to see a movie in the theater. Or binge watch a show on a weekend, or weeknight. But I have noticed something that disturbs me greatly. From trailers showing a man acting as a terrorist is the hero. Or how rebellion is herald as good while authority is both mocked and taught to be distrusted and disrespected.

Sexual acts, be it shown or hinted at, has become a mainstay. That any relationship must either include sex or they are objectified in some manner. Either as a scantily clad individual or a mountain of muscle. That to be in love means you must share your body and your bed. I have not seen a movie where there was not some innuendo about sex. In addition, the fact that people can hop from one relationship to another, from one bed to another, and not have some sort consequence shown disturbs me. What of the emotional harm from having such intimate relationships for a shallow a reason as sex? Or the number of STDs that come from those relationships? What happened to stories where people had to get to know each other before such intimacy? Where did the depth of relationship go in today’s world?

Likewise, humor has changed since the days of the Thin Man or I Love Lucy. Where Bob Hope and his generation used wit and cleverness to bring humor, this generation seems to rely on innuendo and crude humor to bring laughter. The jokes of today also make light of such subjects as porn or adoption. Today’s humor also shows fathers and authority as jokes. Either as fools or things to rebel against. In other things, people themselves laugh at strange things. For example, in the recent movie Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, Yondu kills a ship’s worth of people. Not defending himself or killing those who stand between him and freedom. No, he killed them because he wanted to. Because he could. And the people laughed at how he danced and smiled.

This brings me to my final point: blood.

Today’s shows and movies are violent things. Some more. Some less. Some for good reasons. Others, not so much. There are war movies where the battles of war need to be shown as gruesome. Other times though, it is sheer entertainment. Games and movies make light of these bloody battles. They walk among the bodies without comment. Or neglect to note the sheer loss of life. The series Transformers is a great example. Entire cities are laid to waste in the battles but no one mentions it. Even more disturbing is how today’s shows treat the “killers”.
Tweens Harry Potter, X-23, and Eleven all kill without much regret. Harry kills a teacher by touching him. X-23 kills quite a few, including decapping one fellow. And Eleven snaps the neck of several with her mind.

Granted each had a reason why they are murders but very little shown about how they kill others. Whether they show regret or remorse. Or even if they understand. Harry goes on with his education and his teachers are “yep, he killed a colleague his first year”.

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Writer’s Canvas

A blank pag lies before the writer’s hands
His eyes flicker back and forth
Words are whispered from his mouth
A world unfolds in his mind

Of distant lands and great battles
Deadly villains and terrible lost
Victory won and triumphs gained
Friends’ death and darkness touch

Worlds unfold
And tales are wove
Yet only one story is told
By the writer’s hands

Astrid

So my second character review from How To Train Your Dragon!

Astrid!

 

Astrid in front of a fireball
Astrid being awesome.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from Amazon

 

Again, I am only going to pull from the two movies and Dragon Racing. So yes, there may be spoilers if you have not seen the movies.

In the movies you meet several kids who live in the Island of Burke. First there are the twins: Ruffnut and Tuffnut. Then there is Hiccup, Fishlegs and Snotlout.

dragon riders
The kids. Photo Credit: Screenshot from Amazon

 

Finally we have Astrid.

Hiccup is the main character and is the reluctant hero or the one who comes to term with who he is.

The other kids seem to fill out the archetypical friends of the hero. Snotlout is the type A male with a strong ego. Ruff and Tuff are the mischievous kids that make trouble in the village. Fishlegs acts as the nerd of the group with Astrid filling out the group as the strong female and the love interest of Hiccup.

But I think Astrid has a more complicated history.

Throughout the two movies and mini movie, you learn bits and pieces about the kids’ family. Fishlegs’ family has a tradition of boat racing. Tuff and Ruff have a mother. Snotlout has both parents and his dad apparently holds a high position in the village.

But you don’t know much about Astrid’s family.

In fact, the only reference you ever hear about Astrid’s family is her own comment: “Our parent’s war is about to become our own war. Figure out which side you’re on.”

Astrid asking the hard questions
The power behind those words! The emotion! Photo Credit: Screenshot from Amazon

 

From what AI remember of the movies, she is the only one who calls the fight between the dragons and Vikings as a war. She also says it with such passion.

It makes me think that it is deeper than the other kids.

Astrid constantly pushes herself to become stronger, to become deadlier. Her only boast of killing a dragon comes from joking about getting scars during their training to kill dragons.

Although the kids poke fun at Fishlegs for reading the book multiple times, no one notices that Astrid admits to having read it before dragon training.

If you watch closely, Astrid doesn’t say much when she is part of the group and she tends to find a “corner” to stand in. Either she is in the back of the group or sitting quietly to the side.

noticing hiccup
See, she is sitting off alone and not boasting. Photo Credit: Screenshot from Amazon

 

Her main drive is to take on the dragons and learn to kill them. She can be heard encouraging herself during the last training session. The other students do not encourage themselves.

The other kids simply want to fight dragons for the glory of it. Nothing more.

The villagers are seen going to Gobber’s armory to get their weapons. Astrid has only one weapon: her double headed axe. A weapon that she keeps with her at all times. In Viking lore, from my understanding, a weapon is passed down through the family line.

However, the weapon would go to the eldest son. Astrid has it.

Either her father broke with tradition or she had to pick up the weapon.

During the first movie, you can see Astrid taking out her frustration on trees that is a fair distance from the village. This tells me that she is familiar with the woods and she did not have someone to talk to.

Although her goal for taking on a dragon appears to be like everyone else’s, it sounds much more personal. That she has something to prove.

When Hiccup’s secret about Toothless comes to light, Stoick tells him “they have killed hundreds of us”.

I wonder if Astrid’s parents were killed in battle with the dragons.

hiccup facing his losts
Look at her face. This is someone who knows lost. Photo Credit: Screenshot from Amazon

 

In a Viking culture, actions mean much more than words and bloodlines are key. A child’s lineage gives that child position within the village. Astrid seems to be fighting for much more.

Hiccup wants to kill a dragon to get respect and acceptance. Astrid seems to be fighting for something similar. Her rage at Hiccup’s success goes beyond a rival’s jealousy. It is as if she is afraid of losing something.

lost again
See, she is watching something special slipping out of reach. Photo Credit: Screenshot from Amazon

 

In the second movie has Stoick commenting that Astrid is his “future daughter-in-law”. However, he never mentions her parents or is seen talking plans with them.

Also, at the beginning of the movie, Hiccup reveals his second identity battle and reveals a more mature Astrid.

She encourages him by saying “What you’re searching for isn’t out there, Hiccup…it’s in here”.

This is spoken not from observation or second hand advice but from personal experience. As if she has come to peace with something.

Who is going to be next? I don’t know but we’ll find out!