Jess (iscah_rambles) wrote in train_dragon,

HTTYD arena show!

At last! How To Train Your Dragon: The Arena Spectacular premiered in Melbourne, Australia this afternoon and it was... interesting. The dragons were really amazing, and the visual effects were great. On the other hand, the story was clumsily done, and the acting didn't work well on the huge stage.

Unfortunately there were some serious technical issues - though not so bad as last night's intended premiere, which got cancelled altogether! But the intermission lasted almost an hour, and the performance had to be halted three times during the second act - the last one leaving the actors standing around awkwardly on stage. Definitely some part of Toothless's flying rig wasn't working - to the point that they actually couldn't use it for the finale - though I don't know if that was their only problem. I hope they get everything sorted soon though. The poor tech crew must be insanely stressed! (and the more movie-familiar ones may be quoting "Thank you for nothing, you useless reptile"...)

On the bright side, we were offered free tickets to a second show to make up for it!

EDIT: Have now been to the second show. No technical problems, and they tweaked the script a bit too. (Still not up to the emotional level of the film, but they fixed some awkward bits.) I enjoyed it more than the first time. :)

Assorted notes:

- The Nightmare is quite a different design from the movie version. It has four legs and small separate wings (instead of large arm-wings) and a shorter neck. Still very impressive though.
- No Zippleback. I guess it was too hard to control the two heads. :(
*** Looking through the programme book, there apparently WERE, or should have been, Zipplebacks - not as a fully funtional model, but two or three curled together and just labelled "Nesting Dragons". It's in several photos, but I don't remember seeing it on stage at all.
- Also, no Terrors. Again, probably for controlability.
- Only the Red Death's head appears as an on-stage model. The rest of it is just animated on the back screen.
- They had a "Book of Dragons"-type segment with a few new types mentioned. The "Clang" has a giant magnet on its tail and steals attackers' weapons. Another one (forgot the name) sucks in air and uses it for a powerful gas attack to fly - so don't stand behind it...
- There were also smaller velociraptor-like dragons called 'Stingers'. (Can be seen in this video starting at 1:23.)

Random things - in the show:
- The secondary characters hardly got a word in. Except for Fishlegs, who got turned into an obnoxious wisecracking comic-relief. Mercifully he wasn't around for much of it, though...
- The twins were identical. Works better on the big stage I guess.
- Lots more kids in Dragon Training class! In-show they mentioned "Helga" and "Camicazi" (just to confuse the Astrid=Camicazi question again!). This video introducing the cast also mentions "Grock", who I'm guessing was the random guy hanging around when all the main gang met their dragons just before the finale. He didn't actually do anything and I don't know why he was there, really...
*** The programme book has names for all the minor characters. No Camicazi, despite the name-drop in the show. Extra boys are Dogsbreath, Pong, Stick, Alvin, and Grock; girls are Gala (not Helga, apparently), Fling and Gristle.
- Interesting detail: Astrid mentions her brother was killed by a dragon. (At the point when she's just discovered Toothless, and is angry with Hiccup for protecting him.)
*** This got dropped out of the script in the second show. :( So maybe it doesn't count.
- Gobber mentions the year is 333 - putting them way too early for Viking times... the books were set in the 800s or 900s, from memory. Maybe someone misread an 8 as a 3 somewhere along the line...?

Random things - outside of the show:
- They had posters up advertising the TV series. No pictures, just the logo. But hopefully we'll get more news on it soon then!
- Interesting merchandise:
--- Plushies and figurines of the four main dragons (Night Fury, Nadder, Gronckle, Nightmare). Based on the movie designs rather than altered ones for the live show.
--- There were Hiccup and Astrid plushies too, but they were kind of creepy...
--- T-shirts! I got a blue one with a curled silhouette of Toothless on it. (And it actually is Toothless for once - with the missing tail fin. I don't know why the merchandising department fails at remembering that detail so often...) Can't remember all the other designs. There was one with the logo on it, and one that said "Dragon Trainer" but I think that was just a kids-size shirt.
--- I also got a cup with a figurine of Toothless clinging to the edge of it. It'd be pretty annoying as a drinking cup, really, but it's going to be an awesome pencil holder. :)
--- Programme book - I only glanced through it quickly, but it has some nice close-up shots and some behind-the-scenes information. I didn't buy it because I was initially going to buy it on the way out, but since we got given the second lot of tickets I decided to wait. It's been very wet weather today and I didn't want it to end up soggy!

Overall, it was pretty good as a visual presentation; I just wish I didn't spend so much of it cringing at the scriptwriting. :( I think it's worse because I know-and-love the film so much, but on the other hand I think you'd be a bit lost with following the plot if you weren't familiar with the film. Difficult balancing act, I guess.

Will be interested to see it again and see if that changes my opinion of it... and maybe watch the film again in the meanwhile. :)

Partly crossposted to my LJ.
Tags: httyd: abroad, httyd: franchise
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