Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Movie Review: Disney Pete's Dragon - A Wonderful Retelling of the Original

Disney reimagines their classic Pete's Dragon in a whole new way. Taking direction from Director David Lowery, he was intent on making sure that his movie was not a straight up remake of the original. He kept the themes of the original but told a completely new story.

The film takes place in the Pacific Northwest (though it was shot in New Zealand). The time period is rather ambiguous as you won't see signs of modern technology such cell phones for instance. Even the score is very folk-inspired and adds to that timeless quality. There are no nods to the original music however, as Lowery wanted the movie to stand on its own.

We begin with Pete and his family as they head out on vacation. There is a horrible accident and Pete is left all alone in the wilderness. As Pete wanders through the forest, he meets Elliot, a large furry dragon who takes pity on Pete. We then more six years ahead and see their friendship blossom. There are also some stunning visuals as Pete flies with Elliot over the wilderness. And Elliot, thanks to an amazing team from WETA Digital, looks as if he is truly real.

Next, we are introduced to Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), a woodcarver who tells the children in the town the tale of his encounter with a dragon deep in the forest. His daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), a forest ranger doesn't believe her father's tales.

In the forest, Grace meets Pete (Oakes Fegley), a young boy who says he has lived in the forest for years with his friend Elliot. He claims that Elliot is a huge green dragon that seems all too familiar to the dragon in Mr. Meacham's tales. Oakes plays Pete with a warmth and sensitivity and yet at the same time a toughness that tells you that he could have survived his time in the woods.

With the help of young Natalie (Oona Laurence), whose father Jack (Wes Bentley), runs the local lumber mill, Grace goes on a search to see if Elliot is real or not. Mr. Meacham joins them as well. Soon the trio discovers that Pete was indeed telling the truth.

They are just starting to get to know Elliot when suddenly Jack's brother Gavin (Karl Urban) and his men capture Elliot and bring him back into town.

Discover what happens next when you see Pete's Dragon for yourself when it opens in theaters on August 12th!

In the end, Pete's Dragon is a fresh retelling of the classic movie while still keeping the themes of the original. An absolutely delightful family movie going experience that will spark the imagination of your children and remind us as adults of solid family values.

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