Director: David Lowery
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley.
The adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon. (Source: IMDb)
Not only did I have little to no expectations for this movie, having no emotional ties to or love for the original movie, but I barely knew it was coming out! A quiet marketing campaign for it’s prime-time August release was a little surprising and it reminded me of Pixar’s quiet release last year for The Good Dinosaur which had to follow the incredible Inside Out. After the success of The Jungle Book remake earlier this year, and the unusually quiet release for Pete’s Dragon, I feared Disney were trying to sweep this one under the rug, just as they did with The Good Dinosaur. Was I right to be worried? Let’s get stuck in!
Sometimes it is the quiet ones which surprise you, and boy did Pete’s Dragon surprise me. A film which I had so little hope for, completely floored me. It is one of the purest, most magical cinema experiences I have had this year so far, and to put it simply, it’s just wonderful.
I have faded memories of the original, however I was never a big fan of it and would describe it as pretty average, and undoubtedly dated when you watch it now. The Disney live action reboots have on the whole, been pretty good. Where previously they took great films and tried to improve or at least match their greatness, with varying degrees of success, this new and very much improved Pete’s Dragon, takes something average and turns it into something amazing.
It’s such a beautifully simple story of a boy and his dragon; utterly heart-warming, gut-wrenchingly beautiful, and completely charming.
Whilst Pete (Fegley) and his dragon are very much the stars of the show, the rest of the cast are all pretty good. Robert Redford is particularly wonderful, although vastly underused, and Bryce Dallas Howard gives an honest and lovely performance.
The effects are really wonderful; the dragon looks incredible, both in close-up and in flight. There is so much warmth behind Elliot’s eyes, and the relationship between him and Pete is truly believable.
Really not too much to add in here thankfully. I personally found the soundtrack a little twee, although it did suit the tone of the film, and strangely I think it would make quite a nice listen outside of the film!
It absolutely wasn’t a problem for me, but the story may be a little too simple for some. Kids who are used to garish colours and zany over the top animation might find the change of pace a little disconcerting, but hopefully they’ll be just as mesmerised as I was by the lovely story.
I saw this movie and you should too. I don’t say this lightly, but Pete’s Dragon to me felt like a bonafide Disney classic. Not just the best out of all the live action ones they’ve done so far (Yes, I preferred it to The Jungle Book!), but also one which can stand alongside the animated Disney classics and no longer look out of place. A simply beautiful film, and one which absolutely needs to be seen!
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below!