When I first read about a remake for Pete’s Dragon I was indifferent. The original animated movie never intrigued me as a child and I suspected a modern live action update would leave me cold as well. Yet the imaginative folks at Disney have proven to be creative storytellers as seen in recent reboots such as Cinderella and Maleficent. Begrudgingly, I opted to give this new iteration of Pete’s Dragon a chance. Besides, my kids insisted we see it.
How’s the Story?
The animated version of the story was more whimsical in nature while the 2016 live action version takes a more serious tone. *Spoiler Alert* We’re hit with tragedy at the beginning of the movie which sets the tone for the rest of film to play out. Pete, the boy protagonist, has been reimagined as a sort of Mowgli via The Jungle Book. The Dragon aka Elliot, is less of a dragon and more of a giant green furry puppy. Disney, the ultimate marketer and retailer, most certainly factored in plush toys sales when designing Elliot’s new look. Regardless, there are a metric ton of poignant moments throughout the movie which elevate the film into Steven Spielberg dramatic territory. Be forewarned, the potential for an ugly cry while watching the movie is quite high.
How are the special effects?
Pete’s Dragon captivates you with majestic scenes of wonder. The interaction between Pete and Elliot in the forest will enthrall and delight audiences of all ages. It’s easy to suspend one’s disbelief given the seamless blending of live action and CGI. The enormous dragon possesses an unusual combination of being huggable and daunting at the same time. You’ll soar along with Pete and Elliot as they explore the world high above the clouds. As much as I hate to admit it, the choice of fur over scales works exceptionally well with this incarnation of Elliot.
Any moments for a bathroom break?
The movie is well-structured in terms of story and pacing. It’s one of those rare movies which requires viewing from beginning to end. If nature does call though, I’d suggest when Pete’s first brought home to the Park Ranger’s house.
Overall Grade: A-
Recommended for ages 7 and up.
Pros: Engaging story. Thrilling special effects. Family friendly movie.
Cons: Tissues required.
Official Trailer for Pete’s Dragon