Today on Blogcritics
Home » TV » Genres tv » Children's TV » DVD Review: ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk, Parts One and Two’

DVD Review: ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk, Parts One and Two’

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter1Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Fans of the Dreamworks animated film How to Train Your Dragon can now enjoy its spinoff series, featured on on Cartoon Network. Dragons: Riders of Berk, is available in two DVD collections, jam-packed with the first series’ 20 episodes and lots of extras. The series picks up where the film left off, with Hiccup and his friends, both human and dragon, trying to coexist peacefully together.

The series looks as great. Although maybe slightly less intricately drawn than the film, the colorful CGI animation is quite detailed, and brings the teen vikings, various dragons, and their surroundings to vivid life. The aspect ratio for both sets is 1.78:1, and the sharp images and bright colors look especially great on a large-scale high-definition television screen. The Dolby Digital 5.1  sound provides clear dialogue, sound effects, and music. Subtitles and dubbed languages are available in English, French, and Spanish. Viewers can choose to “play all” or select individual episodes on both sets of discs.

Hiccup and Toothless

Hiccup and Toothless

The characters of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless and their friends are as charming as ever. Many of the original film’s actors have returned for the series. Besides Baruchel, America Ferrera is back as the Astrid, Hiccup’s spunky love interest. Christopher Mintz-Plasse returns as Hiccup’s best pal and dragon expert Fishlegs, and T. J. Miller is back as the not-too-bright Tuffnut. David Tennant is also back as Spitelout, Snotlout’s father. New voice cast members include Julie Marcus as Ruffnut, Tuffnut’s twin sister (voiced by Kristen Wiig in the film), Zack Pearlman as the adversarial Snotlout (originally voiced by Jonah Hill), Chris Edgerly as Gobber (who was voiced by Craig Ferguson), and Nolan North as Stoick, Hiccup’s father (who was originally voiced by Gerard Butler). Familiar actors who show up through the series to play guest or recurring roles include Mark Hamill, Stephen Root, and Tim Conway.

The over-arching conflict of the series continues to be the struggle of the Vikings and their dragon friends learning how to trust one another. The extended format of the series gives the audience an opportunity to get to know the main characters better and explore their Viking world. Even the dragons have distinct personalities, and part of the fun is watching the dragons and their human counterparts form long-lasting bonds.

As the dragons become more and more integrated into the Vikings’ lives even Hiccup’s rough and tumble dad Stoick gets his own dragon to ride, Thornado. In an early episode (“Animal House”) the Vikings learn that the dragons not only want to protect them, but also their domestic animals, like sheep and pigs. Who knew that dragons weren’t carnivores? Apparently they eat fish, so that would make them pescatarians.

Undeniably the main appeal of Dragons: Riders of Berk is — lots of cool dragons. Dragon aficionados will love the gang’s favorite friends, as well as enjoy encountering new dragon species along with Hiccup and his friends through the series. Folks who may have previously bought the series preview DVD, How to Train Your Dragon, will recognize the first four episodes in Dragons: Riders of Berk – Part 1:

Disc 1:

1 – “How to Start a Dragon Academy”
2 – “Viking for Hire”
3 – “Animal House”
4 – “The Terrible Twos”
5 – “In Dragons We Trust” (Part 1)
6 – “Alvin and The Outcasts” (Part 2)

Disc 2:

7 – “How to Pick Your Dragon”
8 – “Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man”
9 – “Dragon Flower”
10 – “Heather Report” (Part 1)
11 – “Heather Report” (Part 2)

The 11 episodes have a run time of approximately 242 minutes and the Part 1 collection includes some fun extras:

Dragon Tracker (Part 1) – A map of Berk, with Hiccup narrating a guide to each of the featured dragons, including Stoick’s Thunderdrum dragon Thornado, the Typhoomerang, and many more.

Evolution of Thunderdrum – A behind-the-scenes feature on the visual creation of the new dragon for Stoick, the Thunderdrum.

“Heavy Metal” Dragon mash-up – A rock and roll video featuring clips from the series.

World of Dreamworks Animation  – Includes songs and DVD promos from DreamWorks favorites Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, MegaMind, How to Train Your Dragon, and Puss in Boots.

At the Dragon Training Academy (CW from top: Ruffnut and Tuffnut on Barf and Belch, Snotlout with Hookfang, Astrid with Stormfly, and Fishlegs with Meatlug)

At the Dragon Training Academy (CW from top: Ruffnut and Tuffnut on Barf and Belch, Snotlout with Hookfang, Astrid with Stormfly, and Fishlegs with Meatlug)

Dragons: Riders of Berk – Part 2 includes 9 episodes (with a running time of approximately 203 minutes). Extras on Part 2 include:

Dragon Tracker (Part 2) – A map of Berk, with Hiccup narrating a guide to some of the featured dragons, including Changewings and their dragon eggs, Smokebreaths on Breakneck Bog, and more.

Evolution of Whispering Death – A behind-the-scenes feature on the visual creation of the new dragon that can burrow underground, the Whispering Death.

“Fly High” Dragon mash-up – A rock and roll video featuring clips from the series.

World of Dreamworks Animation  – Includes songs and DVD promos from DreamWorks favorites Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, MegaMind, How to Train Your Dragon, and Puss in Boots.

Disc 1:

12 – “Thawfest”
13 – “When Lightning Strikes”
14 – “What Flies Beneath”
15 – “Twinsanity”
16 – “Defiant One”

Disc 2:

17 – “Breakneck Bog”
18 – “Gem of a Different Color”
19 – “We Are Family” (Part 1)
20 – “We Are Family” (Part 2)

Both sets include a code for the Ultimate Battle Pack to be used to play the online and mobile game School of Dragons. Gamers can create their own viking and interact with all the show’s characters.

After watching Dragons: Riders of Berk fans should be primed for the new season, Dragons: Defenders of Berk, which is scheduled to start in September. This should keep dragon fans happy until the release of the sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, which is planned for a June 2014 release. It looks like the adventures are just beginning for Hiccup and his friends.

Powered by

About xoxoxoe