Therapist Reacts to How to Train Your Dragon
Alan: So what is it about? Why is it Scottish parents... Scottish animated parents are just, like, this is th' way ya hev to be an' if yer no', then yer no' me son. Or me daughter Stuart: Heed! Move! This episode of Cinema Therapy is brought to you by Storyblocks. Stick around to find out why Storyblocks is better at filmmaking than Alan. Alan: Hello an welcome tae Cinema Therapy. Me name is Alan Seawright, Am ah filmmaker and ah need therapy. Jonathan: Hi, my name is Jonathan Decker and I like to
dragons. Alan: Jonathan is a licensed
therapist. And also... Jonathan: I figured you were going Gerard Butler. So I'd go... Alan: You did it. You did a pretty solid Jay Baruchel. Jonathan: That was actually my first try. Alan: That was... He nailed it. The Original Jay Baruchel: What do you think? Alan: So... you may have guessed, we are talking about How To
Dragon. Jonathan: Wooo Alan: And so we're going to talk about the father-son relationship. Jonathan: I love
Reacts. I knew we were watching this, but I have no idea what clips you pulled. Just like you, flying by the seat of my pants. This is the only person who knows what's going on, Alan: And I'm not wearing any pants. Let's go Guy: Honey, where are my paaaaaants? Ha ha ha ha ha Jonathan: He is. Alan: I am wearing pants. You could... cut to this angle. Look, there's pants. See? Hiccup: OK, but I hit a Night Fury. It's not like the last few times, dad. I...
mean, I've really actually hit it. You guys were busy and I had a very clear shot. It went down just off Raven point. Let's get a search party out there before.... Stoick: STOP! Just... stop. Every time you step outside, disaster falls. Can you not see that I have bigger problems? Winter is almost here and I have an entire village to feed. Alan: So this is not the relationship that I had with my dad, but as a dad now, this is sometimes the relationship I have with my kids. Stoick: Why cant't you follow the simplest orders? Hiccup: I can't stop myself. I see a
dragonand I have to just kill it, you know? It's who I am, dad. Stoick: Oh, you are many things, Hiccup, but a
dragonkiller is not one of them. Get back to the house. Make sure he gets there. Jonathan: He can't even trust him. I think all parents want certain things for their kids. Alan: Absolutely. Jonathan: And he definitely wants his son to be a
dragonslayer. But what he's seen is he's basically the Jar Jar Binks of the Viking world Mesa kill
dragons. Mesa kill
dragons with me machanics. Alan: Wow. Let's pretend that didn't happen. Jonathan: But you know, he's... he's clumsy. I just wanted to Jar Jar Binks. Alan: Please do not. Please do not do that. Jonathan: I mean, his whole life, he hasn't fit in because here he is, surrounded by Vikings and they... Alan: All this raw vikingness. Jonathan: All this raw toughness and grit. And it's not him. Alan: Right....
Jonathan: And it's not his personality and his dad is the toughest of them all, right? Alan: Stoick the Vast. Jonathan: Early on, there's... there's a moment where Hiccup is about to get roasted and his dad comes in and just starts punching the
dragon. Alan: Yeah Jonathan: With his big, meaty hands starts punching a
dragon. So here's Hiccup, and he doesn't have a place that he fits in. Now, I'm sure, there are those of you watching today who feel like I don't fit in in my family. They believe differently than I do, or they all act differently than I do, or they lean politically differently than I do. And I think we... we all have a bit of Hiccup in us. There are... there are circles where we don't fit in and it's tough. Stoick: Hiccup. Hiccup: Dad! I have to talk to you, dad. Stoick: I need to speak with you too, son. Hiccup: I decided I don't want to fight
dragons. Stoick: I think it's time you went to fight
dragons. Hiccup: What? Stoick: What? You go first Hiccup: No, no, you go first. Stoick: All right. You get
training. You start in the morning. Hiccup: Oh man, I should have gone first. Cause I was thinking, you know, we have a surplus of
dragonfighting Vikings, but do we have enough bread making Vikings or small home repair Vikings? Stoick: You'll need this Hiccup: I don't want to fight
dragons. Stoick: Oh, come on. Yes, you do. Hiccup: Rephrased. Dad, I can't kill
dragons. Stoick: But you will...
dragons. Hiccup: No, I'm really very extra sure that I won't. Can you not hear me? Alan: Writing in this movie is really tight. Stoick: Son. When you carry this axe, you carry all of us with you. Which means you walk like us. You talk like us. You think like us. No more of this. Hiccup: You just gestured to all of me. This conversation is feeling very one sided. Stoick: Deal? Hiccup: Deal. Stoick: Good.
Trainhard. I'll be back. Probably. Hiccup: And I'll be here. Maybe. Jonathan: So, the writing is awesome. Alan: It's so tight. The... I mean, the dialog is snappy and witty, which is great. Jonathan: Small home repair Vikings. Alan: Small home repair Vikings... Just that... that moment of talking over each other. And then, no, you go first. Oh, I should have gone first. It's such a great, like, set up - knock down. Every joke and little line of dialog tells you something about the character in addition to, you know, moving the plot along, and also sets up something that's going to be paid off later. Jonathan: Yeah. Alan: It's... it's just so tight. It's very much, you know, Pixar is famous for having scripts like this. Edgar Wright movies tend to be this sort of clockwork, very perfect script Jonathan: There's moment that I'd never noticed before, when Stoick, which is a perfect name for that character. Stoick the Vast. But, he hands him the axe, and they don't make a big joke of it. You don't actually see it happen...
on screen, but you see the axe go off camera and you hear it clank on the ground, Hiccup can't hold it up. Alan: And then you cut back and he's like, uuuurrgh Jonathan: And then his dad picks it up for him, and it's all just like in the corner of the frame there. I look at this thematically, though, and Hiccup wanted to kill
dragons. Alan: Yeah. He wanted to be like everybody else. Jonathan: But if you... but early on, the reason he is ,like, if I kill this
dragon, I'll get some notice. If I kill this harder... the more difficult to kill
dragon, I'll definitely get a girlfriend. Alan: Yeah, yeah. Oh, Hiccup's early monologue is me, ages 12 to like 17? 16. I figured myself out at 16. Jonathan: Yeah, yeah. Alan: But yeah, that whole time I was, like, what can I do to make people like me, especially girls? Jonathan: Yeah, trying on different groups of friends and seeing where you fit in and changing
yourself for them. But I love when he says, I can't kill
dragons, dad. No, it's what you've always wanted, son. You can do it. And he's, like, No, I'm pretty sure I can't Alan: Really, absolutely, quite sure Jonathan: Because he has that... that beautiful moment. And he talks about it with Astrid later, where he saw Toothless. And he's like, Toothless was as afraid as I was. Alan: Yeah. Jonathan: And that hiccup had something that wasn't in abundance in this rough and tumble community, which is compassion, and his dad...
doesn't see it yet. This reminds me a lot of our Brave episode, because you have a parent who loves their child. Alan: Yeah, wants the best for their child Jonathan: Wants the best for their child, but thinks the way the child is, is not OK. Alan: Yeah. Jonathan: So he's like, You just motioned to all of me. Alan: So there's that whole montage of Merida's mom: a princess does not... Queen Elinor: A princess does not place her weapons on the table Merida: Moooooooom. Jonathan: Yeah. Alan: So what is it about... Why is it Scottish parents... Scottish animated parents are just like, this is th' way ye hev to be, an' if ye're no', then ye're no' me son or me daughter. Stuart: Heed! Move! Jonathan: Our Scottish fans, tell us in the comments: Is this a cultural thing or is this how just you're misrepresented in animation? Alan: Is this just animators getting you completely wrong? Stuart: Look at the size of that boy's head. Tony: Shhhhhh Stuart: I'm not kidding. That's like an orange on a toothpick Jonathan: Hiccup says: I feel like we're having a one sided conversation, dad. Alan: Yeah, yeah. Jonathan: You know? Like his dad's just, like, dominating and saying, this is how it's going to be. For there to be a healthy parent-child relationship, or a guardian, you know, teenager or whatever we have going on, it's got to be a dialog. Alan: Yeah. Jonathan: And we're not quite peers yet. Like, if I'm
parent, I have a responsibility to guide you to adulthood. And so there is a bit of authority there, but authority without consent or with... or authority without genuine I'm going to hear you and I'll even shift my game based on what
youractual needs are, that's just tyranny. Alan: Yeah. Authority without the consent of the governed. I think that Thomas Jefferson guy knew a thing or two. Jefferson: These are wise words, enterprising men quote'em. Don't act surprised, you guys, cause I wrote'em. Jonathan: Yeah. He also made some mistakes. Hamilton: We know who's really doing the planting. Alan: Some big ones. Jonathan: But that doesn't mean he was wrong about everything. Stoick: I should have known. I should have seen the signs Hiccup: Dad... Stoick: We had a deal. Hiccup: I know we did, but that was before I... It's all so messed up. Jonathan: So Hiccup has
trained and befriended the
dragon. Stoick: A trick? A lie! Hiccup: I screwed up. I should have told you before now. I... just... Take this out on me, be mad at me, but please - just don't hurt Toothless. Stoick: The
dragon? That's what you're worried about? Not the people you almost killed? Hiccup: He was just protecting me. He's not dangerous. Stoick: They killed hundreds of us. Hiccup: And we've killed thousands of them. Dad, please, I promise you, you can't win this one. No, dad, no. Alan: I have been in that situation where I'm in an argument... Hiccup:...
Just listen to me Alan: ...and I only hear what I want to hear. Jonathan: Yeah. Stoick: You throw in
yourlot in with them? You're not a Viking. You're not my son. Alan: That shot. Look at so much weight. Jonathan: Yeah. Alan: And then this one right here. Jonathan: That moment is the only reason you don't hate Stoick after that. Alan: Right. And it's a beautiful, beautiful piece of animation, cause it's, you know, it's not super subtle, like, you know, you're seeing a lot of emotion. He actually staggers back from the weight of what he's just done, but nailing... So it's not a subtle, you know, movement, but nailing all of the subtleties of the way his eyes are... are pulling together and his brow is furrowed. And then, like, stepping back and realizing and feeling the weight of what he did. The human face is the most difficult thing to animate. It's the most difficult thing to do in visual effects. It's the most difficult thing to animate, because there is a whole giant chunk of
yourbrain that is expressly designed to see and interpret human faces. It's incredibly difficult to get a human face working, And, obviously, the character design in these films is not, you know, 1-to-1 perfect, like, we're not going for photo-real. It's a very stylized, you know, Stoick the Vast is a giant square. Jonathan: Right Alan: But it's still a recognizable human face and getting his eyes and his brows, and the way his lips pull...
in and just all those little teeny, tiny, subtle details that sell: I have just made the biggest mistake of my life. And it staggers him back. And then he re-gathers himself in, like, OK, now get... gather the ships and take off. It's... It's they animate like... Jonathan: Yeah. Alan: Good job, animators. Jonathan: Well, this... this conversation is so well-written and so relatable. Choosing a different path than the people who've come before you. Alan: Right. Jonathan: I see this in counseling with people who choose a different faith or no faith. They come out as LGBT... LGBT+ and their parents and their families aren't ready to handle that. Or even something as simple as personality differences. Alan: Yeah. Jonathan: And you don't have to do what
yourparents say you need to do or what anyone else shoulds you into doing. Like, what do you want to do with
yourlife? And if you haven't figured it out, it's OK to explore. I switched gears in high school and I started making action movies based on my passion for Jackie Chan, right? I started doing, like, parkour. Alan: They're available online, you should watch them. Jonathan: Which dovetailed into the work that we did together. You're not my son. You threw in
yourlot with them. How often do you see this with people choosing a different... choosing different politics, different faith, different paths than other... than their family? Alan: It's so common, and it's... it's such an...
easy reaction to have, when you don't understand the choices somebody's making. I understand where Stoick is coming from here. Cause, you know, his experience is they've killed hundreds of us. They come to our village and steal our food. Jonathan: Yeah. Alan: And so we try to stop them from stealing our food, and they kill us. So we kill them. It's their fault, not mine. Why do you suck, son? Why are you throwing
yourlot in with them? Jonathan: You're a threat to my way of life. You're a threat to my people. You're a threat. And that goes back and forth. And the only way through is... is... We'll get there. But it's what ends up happening in the film Alan: If you want to see more of this, we have social media @Therapy_Cinema on Twitter and Instagram, or r/Cinema_Therapy on Reddit, because we wanted to make that confusing. It turns out... Hiccup: Dad? Alan: Hiccup was right. Jonathan: I love the intelligence of Toothless. Alan: Yeah. Hiccup: We got it, bud. Alan: Suffers a little bit from, you know, everything is a dog. It's like in any animated movie, any animal is kind of just a puppy. But, like, this one's a hyperintelligent... Stoick: You don't have to go up there Alan: ...flying... fire-spitting puppy? Hiccup: It's occupational hazard. Alan: I kinda want one. Stoick: I'm proud to call you my son. Alan: Again, beautiful, subtle animation there. Jonathan: So, they look nothing alike in size, but they have the same...
eyes. Alan: They have the same eyes. Yeah. And we, you know, learn in the second film that the rest of the face comes from his mom. Jonathan: Right. Alan: But yeah, the eyes are the same. But I love that we go back into How To
Dragon2 and things, like, circumstances have changed, but personalities haven't. Jonathan: Mm hmm. Alan: And that's one thing that, you know, we don't get to do in movies because movies are such compressed stories, you have to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And so people make an arc and they change and they're done Jonathan: Right. Alan: Right? And that's not how real life works. Jonathan: No. Alan: You learn and grow and you make a change, and you slip back into old patterns. And maybe some changes stay permanent. But, like, most of the behaviors, probably don't change very much. I mean, can you speak to that? Jonathan: Yeah, some things remain. I mean, I firmly believe that the best apology is changed behavior, right? But the reason that is, and some of you are hearing that statement, the best apology is change behavior and it's landing. And the reason it's landing is because changing behavior... Alan: It's so damn hard! Jonathan: So hard to send those little neurons down new pathways and carve new pathways in the brain and abandon the old trails because we just naturally slide into the old ways of doing things. And so, change behavior... I mean, what it really looks like, honestly, is trying...
over and over and over again. And that's why forgiveness is such a crucial part in relationships. Forgiveness, especially if someone continues to recognize that they're doing wrong and that they are genuinely trying, and you see the effort then.. then forgiveness is healing for the relationship. That's completely different from somebody saying, I'm sorry and making no effort to change and not actually meaning it. Alan: Stoick has completely changed. I mean, you know, obviously things are proven to him, like, Oh, my son is completely right. Oops. Jonathan: In his own way, a total badass. Alan: Yeah, wow. He can do... Like, he rides
dragons! Jonathan: He rides
dragons, and he is... He doesn't control the
dragon, like, he's one with the
dragonto do all this ama... He's... he's fighting in battle in a way I never could have. Hiccup: You're all grown up. And since no chief could ask for a better successor, I've decided... Astrid: To make you chief! Oh my Gods! Hiccup, that's amazing! Hiccup: Aoowww! You're gonna wear out the spring coil. The calibration is very sensitive. Yeah. So this is what I'm dealing with. Astrid: What did you tell him? Hiccup: I didn't. By the time he turned around, I was gone. Astrid: Huh... Jonathan: I'm interested in why you chose this scene, but this feels like a quick place to add. I love that we have... between Hiccup and Toothless, we have two disabled protagonists. Alan: Yeah. You know,...
it's dealt with. They don't just ignore the disability, but it's also not dealt with in the sort of ablest way, where it's like, Oh, they can't do things because of whatever. It's like, no, they find ways to... Jonathan: They adapt. Alan: Adapt and use their disability to their advantage or whatever. Thank you so much to Storyblocks for sponsoring this episode. Storyblocks helps creators, like me and you, create more video content and make it awesome. And it's not just a stock footage site. They have a huge library of royalty-free video footage, sound effects, music. They're demand-driven, so they're constantly updating and optimizing their library, and they're also committed to increasing representation with diverse and inclusive content, which is, of course, very important. They also have subscriptions for every budget, and they're flexible so that you can scale to fit
yourproject's needs and budget. I've used Storyblocks, on, like, big, expensive commercials, and I've also used Storyblocks on YouTube, like this, literally, on the show. So click our link: Storyblocks.com/CinemaTherapy and you can start creating today with awesome things that are better than what you could shoot, because they're better than what I can shoot, and I do this for a living. It also brings us back to what we talked about just a minute ago. There's been progress in the relationship, but in some ways things have reset. Stoick now...
recognizes the value of his son, and he's like, Great, now you can do exactly what I want, in the way you want. It's like, but that's still not what I want. Jonathan: Right. Alan: And it's, you know... Jonathan: I hear that. Alan: He's made progress, but not... he's not all the way there Hiccup: Dad, this is actually a little more important than building saddles Stoick: Ah, lesson two. No task is too small when it comes to serving
yourpeople. Alan: So, he's back to old patterns of behavior. He's not listening. He's accepted parts of his son... Jonathan: Yeah Alan: ...and that's great. But he's still not listening. Hiccup: Dad... Stoick: Go on. Have away Hiccup: Yeah, but seriously, I really need to tell you about this new land we came across. Stoick: Best we keep to our own. Besides, you'll have more important uses for
yourtime. Once we make the big announcement, Hiccup: They are building a
dragonarmy. Jonathan: One of the hard things about growing and changing for the better is we overestimate how much we've grown. Alan: Absolutely. It's the Dunning-Kruger effect of, like, change. Jonathan: Yeah, I had a paradigm shift. I had a realization. I'm a changed person now and... Alan: Everything's great. Jonathan: And then... and then we can be blind to: I'm still doing the same crap I was doing before. Alan: Yep. Jonathan: Because he's doing the same thing. He's not listening to a son. And the hardest...
part about that is he thinks that he is. He thinks: I've changed as a father, and so we're good. Sometimes it takes a harsh reality to slap you in the face and wake you up to you've got more growing to do. I know that's happened in my life a lot. This doesn't make Stoick a bad father. It makes him human. I mean, this is a pretty human trait. We... we seek to be understood before we seek to understand, right? We seek to have people get on board with our way of doing things. We're all pretty arrogant. We all think our way is the right way. Stoick was open to growth. He is open to change. He is open to having, in a lot of ways, his mind opened to new possibilities. But in other ways, he was rigid and held to... held on to things. And we are all that way. Alan: Yeah. Jonathan: Change is hard, right? And I... but what I love about this relationship is that even though it's imperfect, it doesn't mean the love isn't there and it doesn't mean the connection is not there. And accepting that, accepting that it's going to be flawed, accepting that there's going to be kinks to work out makes that less painful. Instead of, Oh, it's supposed to be harmony, and it's not. So what's wrong with me or what's wrong with the relationship? It's, Oh no, this is just what a relationship is. A lot of you comment on Alan and my friendship, and we do. We have a very healthy, strong friendship. There's conflict there. Alan: Yeah....
Jonathan: There is struggle. There's... There's difference of opinion. There's misunderstandings, mistakes, hurts. Frankly, we've been working through some of them recently, and that's what makes it real Rick Dalton: You're a good friend, Cliff. Jonathan: We're talking about the importance of listening. We're talking about the importance of accountability and the importance of being able to have
yourmind changed. How much that's contributed to us staying friends when things have gotten rough. Alan: Yeah, absolutely. You'll have... you'll have issues. It's... it's common, man. Just buckle up. Jonathan: Yeah. Alan: That's what... it's kinda what makes life fun, honestly. Jonathan: It's kind of... Alan: If all just went smoothly all the time, how boring would that be? So... Gobber: For a great man has fallen Alan: Stoick sacrificed himself... Gobber: A warrior Alan: ...to save... Gobber: A father Alan: ...not just Hiccup, but to save Toothless as well. We talked earlier about John Powell, the composer, not needing to go so hard. Jonathan: Yeah. Alan: I'm glad he did. Jonathan: He did that for us. Alan: That's for you That close up right there of just the... Hiccup: I'm sorry, dad Alan: ...shroud. Gets me every time. Jonathan: I love that they don't make a joke. Hiccup: you wanted me to be and I'm not the peacekeeper I thought I was. I... don't know. Valka: You came early into this world. You...
were such a wee thing. So frail, so fragile. I feared you wouldn't make it. But
yourfather... He never doubted. He always said you'd become the strongest of them all. And he was right. You have the heart of a chief and the soul of a
dragon. Only you can bring our worlds together. That is who you are, son. Jonathan: Even in the close ups, I mean, Gobber's kind of a goofy looking character. Alan: Oh, very much so. He's a comedy sidekick. Jonathan: And in the close-ups you can see, they have so much attention to detail, like his stubble. Alan: That's a technical thing as well. Filmmaking wise, there was a big step up in the rendering quality from the first film to the second film. They added a lot more texture detail, and other things. The lighting... Roger Deakins, he was the visual consultant for these films. So Roger Deakins went to DreamWorks, and basically taught them how to light a movie. Jonathan: Yeah. Alan: Cause their animators, they're really good. They know how, you know, lighting works and stuff. They have a very good technical knowledge of it. Jonathan: Yeah. Alan: He consulted and helped with... with the lighting Jonathan: Being you is the best way to bring honor. Jewish, Islamic, and Christian tradition. There's the... there's the doctrine of honor
yourfather and mother, honor
yourparents. And then that idea crops up in... in eastern philosophies, Alan: Oh, Confucianism. It's all over the place. Jonathan: So something that...
strikes me is we don't necessarily honor our parents through obedience. Sometimes that can be the case, especially when we're younger. But we honor our parents through living honorable lives. And sometimes we bring honor by having integrity and living our life the best we can. Even if it's not the life that our parents would have chosen for us, we honor them. And that's... I see that with Hiccup. He's not the chief his father was. And he says, How could I be like you were? And the message is, he doesn't need to be like Stoick. He needs to be the best Hiccup he can be. My... what my dad tells me every time I talk to him on the phone, is he says, I'm proud of you. As someone who grew up seeking acceptance, and I had it at home, I had it from my parents, but socially I didn't have it. As somebody who's wrestled with more insecurity than I think anyone knows but me, like, how big a part of my life that's been to overcome my self-loathing, my insecurities, and be comfortable in my own skin. To hear my father say 'I'm proud of you' means the world to me. And some of you watching, I know, will never have that. And if you never have that, it's not because of you. Some people are too stuck in their ways of thinking, their ways of this is how the world should be, this is how my kids should be, to see the incredible person in front of them. If you are living a life of integrity, if you're trying to do good, we,
YouTube dads, are very proud of you and we love you. Alan: We are very proud of you. We are also very proud to be