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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BY Steve Newall Flicks Writer
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
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Pete's Dragon (2016)
BY JohnboyDunedin superstar
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
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
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