A young boy, Pete, is found in a forest where he's been living for six year after an accident took his parents' lives. A ranger, Grace, takes him in and asks him how he survived all by himself. He says he had a friend named Elliott and draws a picture of a dragon, saying it's Elliott. Grace takes the picture to her father who claims that years ago he encountered a dragon in the forest. Grace takes Pete back to the forest and he shows her his home and Elliott. A man sees Elliott, and when he tells about his experience and isn't believed, he sets out to capture the dragon to prove it.Written by
Pete and Natalie falling from the tree would have realistically resulted in them getting cut and dirty. See more »
Guess you heard about the boy.
I did. You know, word travels fast in this town. How long has he been out there?
Six years? Nobody can survive in that forest for six years. At least not alone.
Well... He says... He says he wasn't alone.
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For a re-imagining, 'Pete's Dragon' impressed much more than expected
The 1977 'Pete's Dragon' was a favourite as a child. As far as by today's standards, while not a great film and not as good through adult eyes (plus there are better live-action Disney films, especially the timeless 'Mary Poppins'), it's still well worth watching.
Despite having some really talented names on board, expectations were both of great interest but feeling dubious. It did have potential to be better than the 1977 film, and still stand very well on its own, or it could have been a lazy and pointless cash-grab. While it is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, it proved to be a better film than anticipated.
Not one of the best live-action Disney re-imaginings like 'Cinderella' and 'The Jungle Book' (much better than 'Maleficent' though), but still for a re-imagining 'Pete's Dragon' was a good one. It is let down by the final act, where the darker and more action-packed tone jars with what was happening before in the film and at this point the film starts to feel rushed. The villain just felt very shoehorned in and out of place, for the sake of "needing" an "obligatory" villain for conflict (that to me wasn't necessary), not helped by the hammy performance of Karl Urban that just feels out of kilter with the rest of the cast.
Where 'Pete's Dragon' especially soars is in the very charming and touching friendship chemistry between Pete and Elliot, essentially the heart of the film. Speaking of Elliot, he is a very lovingly crafted creature with not just beautiful details to him but also with a personality that wins one over in how endearing he is.
'Pete's Dragon', apart from some overly grim lighting in places, looks great visually, the splendid scenery being especially good complemented beautifully by cinematography that's atmospheric and picturesque. The music is lovingly whimsical and fits the film well when it could easily have not done.
Scripting serves its purpose well and doesn't hurt the atmosphere or the central friendship at all, weakening only with the villain and when the film gets darker. David Lowery directs very capably and balances the various elements well. Although it won't work, and hasn't worked, for some (with criticisms of it being thin narratively, slow-moving and either too sentimental or cold), for me the story (radically altered with a more sombre tone for example) was immensely charming and appreciated the calmer, straightforward, more gentle and deliberate nature of the story which allowed the friendship to resonate. Never found it mawkish and thought that there was enough emotion without it overshadowing things, though admittedly there is not much that is particularly new.
Urban aside, the acting is good. Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence are very appealing, while Bryce Dallas Howard is luminous and compassionate and, while not being on screen for long, Robert Redford achieves the right balance of the grizzled and the sympathetic. But essentially it is Elliot and the friendship between him and Pete that carry the film, and, as they should, captivate most strongly.
In summary, while with its foibles 'Pete's Dragon' was a much more impressive re-imagining than expected after mixed expectations. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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