Pete's Dragon (2016)

Pete's Dragon (2016)

(2016)

Some secrets are too big to keep.

Disney update their animated family film (1977), with this live action fantasy about a boy and his giant dragon friend. Filmed in New Zealand and starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford and Karl Urban.... More

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Redford) has delighted local kids with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is 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 (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local timber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.Hide

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Flicks Review

Smart and simple aren’t qualities often seen in the same film, much less those aimed squarely at kids such as Pete’s Dragon. Director David Lowery’s Disney remake is a rare delight in how it respects the intelligence of its audience while still offering up lump-in-the-throat emotional beats in service of a welcomely straightforward story.... More

Given room to breathe and emote on screen, rather than having to hammer every point home ad nauseum, the top-drawer cast deliver - be they a Hollywood legend (Robert Redford), maternal figure (Bryce Dallas Howard), comical opportunist (Karl Urban), or, most crucially, the young Pete. You’ll buy newcomer Oakes Fegley’s years spent in the wilderness, as well as his friendship with a green furry dragon, this relationship provoking painful pangs felt by both audience and flying friend when Pete finds himself integrating back into human society, which in turn threatens his companion.

As for that dragon, named Elliott by a then four-year-old Pete, he’s charmingly brought to life through playful clumsiness, tangible presence, and wonderfully-animated non-verbal communication. As he soars and swoops through the air, it conjures the same sense of wonder and excitement you’ll see on the faces of his human playmate and witnesses.

Gently mining nostalgia for kids’ films of bygone eras through its thematic sensibilities and somewhere-in-the-mid-80s setting, Pete’s Dragon generally avoids unearned sentimentality and on-the-nose culturally specific touchstones (yes, in this regard it's no Stranger Things). Instead, this is a gentle tale that brings generations together for an adventure - and, yes, a tear or two in the process - as it goes about using the family connections within the film to provide an emotional core that should impact on grown ups and kids alike.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 6 ratings, 3 reviews
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This was a winner. Tear jerker at times - take a tissue. Great modern day making of a classic story. The Dragon was cool - minimalistic - but such a winner. I want one. This grabbed you from the onset until the end which you never ever wanted to end. A breath of fresh air.


BY DanielK superstar

The major weakness of Pete’s Dragon (if you can even call it a weakness in this context) is that you’ve seen this story before, or one very similar to it. Like last year’s Creed, Pete’s Dragon knows the formula it’s working to, and sticks to it - there’s nary a narrative beat that fails to show up on time and in its expected place. But, as Creed proved, when made with care, thought and conviction a formula film can be a tremendously satisfying thing.

Director David Lowery musters... More his ingredients with a wonderfully understated and deft touch - the film’s gentle pace and natural settings evoke Carroll Ballard’s Fly Away Home and The Black Stallion as much as the more obvious Spielbergian templates. The film's apparently effortless craft and obvious sincerity actually turns the story’s familiar shape to its advantage - Pete's Dragon is tremendously comfortable in the very best sense of the word. And frankly I would have happily sat through a much less accomplished movie just to enjoy Bryce Dallas Howard's Grace, who virtually glows with kindness throughout, or Robert Redford’s Meacham, a wistful old granddad whose inner child visibly twinkles just below his weathered facade, waiting for an excuse to surge to the surface once again.

Much like the titular dragon Elliot, Pete’s Dragon may wobble occasionally, but more often than not it soars. This is the type of movie that gives formula filmmaking a good name.Hide


My 15 year old daughter and I went to see this. We found it was made in the style of films done years ago but still modern in its approach. Enjoyed going to see the movie and shed a few tears too.


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The Press Reviews

86% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • This is a new classic. Like E.T., it'll be watched and loved for many years to come. Full Review

  • Experiencing "Pete's Dragon" is like seeing something thought to be extinct, a creation every bit as magical and mythical as the flying, fire-breathing beast it's named after. That would be the straight ahead, unapologetic family film. Full Review

  • All the nostalgic Spielberg-y-ness of 'Stranger Things', minus the creepy kids with paranormal nosebleeds. Full Review

  • One of the year's most delightful moviegoing surprises, a quality family film that rewards young people's imaginations and reminds us of a time when the term "Disney movie" meant something... Full Review

  • It is slightly unfair to say that this reboot of "Pete's Dragon" is middling on a larger scale, but it's not entirely inaccurate either. Full Review

  • A cinematic enchantment, a low-key 1970s-style kids' movie brimming with sincerity and heart. It's one of the best films of the year. Full Review

  • ...the notably darker interpretation turns out to be, like the CG creature itself, a moody, lumbering thing that seldom takes flight. Full Review

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