Dir. David Lowery
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“Just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there”
Prepare to believe in dragons once more as the powers that be re-image Disney’s original boy-and-dragon-em-up Pete’s Dragon. Step this way or an adventure which sees unfortunate orphan Pete (Oakes Fegley) surviving in the wild thanks to his unusual best friend Elliott (a kind hearted furry green beastie).
Pete and Elliot’s worlds are shaken up when Pete runs into Forest Ranger Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) who has somehow managed not to notice the wild boy and his giant green pal living on her patch of forest for several years. He’s whisked off to civilisation and introduced to Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill.
As Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about his dragon – whilst the townsfolk decide to catch Elliot to make money out of him. Can the two mismatched kids and kindly dragon believing old timer Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) – who tells the local children tales of a dragon residing deep in the woods – find a way to triumph?
Well, without wanting to spoil it, this is a Disney childrens’ fantasy but it does at least throw in some mild scares, a spot of tension and an impressive fire breathing finale. This new take on Pete’s Dragon updates the 1977 live-action / animation mixture removes lots of the cheese and adds some nice though provoking themes. Director David ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ Lowery does a decent job in making the whole tale bounce along with a bittersweet grounding that should appeal to both kids and those who can still find their inner sense of childlike wonder.
Everyone goes about the fantasy fun and occasional peril with good spirit, Redford is the best I’ve seen him in years and the two young leads are very watchable. Howard has strong recent form with giant lizards after Jurassic World, plus there’s also Karl ‘Star Trek’ Urban and Wes ‘American Beauty’ Bentley to round out a great cast.
Pete’s Dragon is a family pleaser which stands above the cash in summer kids efforts and is certainly worth a look. It is even possible you’ll find your local church doing a Pete’s Dragon themed service as a special pack of resources has been created around the film for churches to use…
Check out the resource pack for yourself at: ETHOS MEDIA
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3 - Puff ain't go nothing on Elliot)...
Awesomeness ööö – Some great set pieces
Laughs öö – Some fun but not a comedy
Horror ö – Not grim but tense and occasionally scary
Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - BFF's whatever species you are...