For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace, who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales... until she meets Pete, a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete's descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham's stories. With the help of Natalie, an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.
The infectiously whimsy and adventurous **Pete’s Dragon** undergoes a polished millennial-style rebirth for today’s kiddies not fortunate enough to be alive when the 1977 live-action animated musical blueprint made its charming, impressionable impact for youngsters of all ages back in the day. The festive and frolicking Disney flourishes are applied to co-writer/director David Lowery’s re-imagination of an impish boy and his devoted dragon. There is an even balance of refreshing nostalgia and modern-day spryness and magical sentiment that hovers over this engaging family fable remake from the polyester period. Lowery (2013’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”) and screenwriters Toby Halbrooks and Malcolm Marmorstein pack some vibrant punch of wonderment into this children’s tale of gentle mischievousness. Sure, the simplistic approach to the storytelling feels like a step-by-step progression experienced in a majority of child-friendly escapist entertainment. Still, **Pete’s Dragon** is steady in its gentle precision for homespun high jinks. Whether appreciating this Disney classic from four decades ago or relishing in Lowery’s current contemplative spectacle one will agree that the heart and soul of this sweet and uplifting narrative remains true to the main factors involved: the runaway (now orphaned) boy Pete and his trusty creature companion Elliot. In fact, it is just as instrumental that the adult presence in **Pete’s Dragon** make an impacting impression as well because this exposition should cater to the delicate sensibilities in us all whether as a curious tyke or reflective grown-up. Orphaned and alone, 10-year old Pete (Oakes Fegley) had become a wild child in the deep woods. What was looking pretty grim for Pete in terms of loneliness, abandonment and despair was soon cured when he ended up befriending a giant green furry high-flying dragon named Elliot. For the most part the imposing Elliot served as Pete’s surrogate parent while ensuring protection and friendship for the parent-less prepubescent. There is no question about the dependency that Pete and his dragon Elliot share in loving dependency. The scenic wooded haven serves as the treasured playground for the playful, nature-loving tandem. Enter the father-daughter duo of Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) and Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard). Both strangely have an eerie connection to Pete’s and Elliot’s existence without realizing it. Meacham had been telling engagingly colorful stories to the local children about a mysterious dragon existing in the Northwest Pacific woods. As for Grace she happens to be employed as a Park Ranger for the site of the mentioned woods her father constantly references in his repetitive stories. Soon Grace will encounter the disheveled Pete who is more than willing to share his adventures of living in the thick woods with his massive dragon buddy Elliot. This all seems rather intriguing to Grace because Pete’s description of Elliot is curiously similar to the fictional monster that Meacham cites to the spellbound youngsters. Whatever the case may be regarding Pete and his personalized plight this is something that Grace must investigate. Grace is not the only one who finds the wandering Jungle Book youthful clone intriguing. Both Grace’s fiance Jack (Wes Bentley) and 11-year old Natalie (Oona Laurence from “Southpaw”) are in awe of Pete as well. In any event, Grace and Natalie are determined to find out what lies beneath the surface with the boy and his behemoth sidekick dragon that recalls Meacham’s exaggerated tall tales. **Pete’s Dragon** dutifully follows what amounts to be the on-going formula for escapist children’s storybook gems as recently told on the big screen. The reliable source of pathos and warmth wisdom stems from a vulnerable child in search of belonging especially when trying to locate, recognize, reunite or reminisce about the absence of parents. Thankfully, **Pete’s Dragon** is in formidable company with animated treasures such as _Finding Dory_, _The BFG_, _Stranger Things_ and even the aforementioned _Jungle Book_ that follows such a playbook. The realism behind the idyllic childhood is having that sturdy foundation of family and support especially in the impressionable stages of youthful innocence. Among other things Pete’s Dragon solidifies the magnitude of growing pains and a sense of isolation and quieted despair. This is an important message although embedded in the confines of an innocuous juvenile fantasy. The young Fegley resourcefully carries the breezy heartfelt material on his capable little shoulders as the enchanting Pete. The adorable Laurence is equally effective as Natalie whose bonding with her imaginative partner-in-crime Pete is admirable. Elliot the dragon is nothing more than an overgrown affable beast that would make for an amusing act at a neighborhood children’s birthday party. Both Redford’s Meacham and Howard’s Grace are essential as the older elements bridging the mysteries surrounding the mischievous moptop and his humongous hairball confidante. There is no need to critically slay **Pete’s Dragon** as the thrills and life lessons in resiliency should prove instrumental for the enthusiastic kiddie crowd watching from the sidelines. **Pete’s Dragon** (2016) Walt Disney Pictures 1 hr. 30 mins. Starring: Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban Directed by: David Lowery MPAA Rating: PG Genre: Children’s Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Action and Adventure Critic’s rating: *** stars (out of 4 stars) **(c) Frank Ochieng** (2016)
**For Pete, home is where Elliot is.** I saw the '77 film prior to this so that I'm not going to miss anything if the upgradation was done in this new version. That was a quite okay film, so do this one. The difference between two was mainly the technology, but there's a major surge on all departments. Somewhat this looked more enjoyable than the old one. Visually very good, all the actors are great and so the locations, but the story was too short, not the film. It was over a 90 minute long and the entire film looked like an introduction. So there were no developments, everything was just like a beginning. That means the sequel could become a great adventure or it should be. The five year old boy Pete, who lost in the wood after the car with his parents met a mishap, is raised by a dragon named Elliot. Now, eleven, meets some people from the nearby town who came with an agenda. It's like he got everything back what he had lost 6 years ago. Followed by misunderstanding and the human interference in the Elliot's enclosure, the chaos unleash and thrilling final act proceeds before the narration concludes in a style. The kid who played Pete looked some kind of related to Sarah Snook, but he was good and so the others. The film was not good as I was expecting. The box office success was not that great comparing with other Disney films. So the sequel is in doubt, yet the story had ended with a wide open. I am sure you will enjoy watching it, because everything was so pleasant, but only a few people would like it at the end. I don't know if you are one, but definitely worth a try. _6/10_
Disney's retelling efforts post-Maleficent continue to be worthwhile. Does what the original did only better, and though it's not a brilliant movie, it is well made for the most part, and I found myself quite endeared to the titular dragon. _Final rating:★★★ - I personally recommend you give it a go._
Wholesome viewing. 'Pete’s Dragon' is a pleasant film. This remake brings a lot of feels thanks to its hearty narrative. The special effects are nice, as is the score - particularly towards the end. The cast isn't all-star but they all do good jobs. Oakes Fegley gives a sweet performance as Pete, though it's Bryce Dallas Howard who is probably the film's standout. I also enjoyed Robert Redford's role (Meacham) in this, though it would've been nice to have seen him utilised more - the same could be said for all bar Pete, in truth. There are some neat scenes in this, even if it is a film that does feel like it takes different elements from different films in parts - e.g. 'The Jungle Book' and 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial'. A few of the characters aren't written to perfection, but not to the degree of it becoming an irritation. Touching. Worth a watch, for sure.