Pete's Dragon Review 2016
Pete's Dragon is the latest live-action remake of an animated classic. It is directed by David Lowery, who has directed a handful of mostly art films. The most recent thing was a 2013 movie called Ain't Them Bodies Saints.
Pete's Dragon is one part Tarzan, one part The Jungle Book, and even a splash of E.T. This is mostly to good effect. It is not a perfect movie, but it was entertaining, and should be very compelling and memorable for children.
It overlaps heavily with the animated cartoon original. Pete is a young boy who was in a car wreck deep in the forest. He wanders from the wreckage and gets found by a magical dragon he names Elliot. Elliot essentially raises him in a magical forest dragon lair.
Pete's Dragon also has a stellar cast. It's replete with Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, and a wonderful performance by Robert Redford.
The story of fantasy and whimsy are wonderful. The E.T. elements are great as far as instilling a sense of wonder and imagination in children who may fantasize about living in the forest with a magical dragon.
The downside, in my opinion, is that Pete's Dragon feels a bit heavy-handed at times. Sometimes the plot feel a bit too somber. Much of the music is a dark 70's folk vibe. (It takes place in the 70's) Some fun moments of playfulness could've been seem weighed down a bit by a dark tone the seemed out of place.
Overall, I recommend Pete's Dragon for kids as long as you know what they're getting into. It's whimsical, magical, and a bit sappy and somber.
Rated: PG time: 90 minutes