Release Date: August 12, 2016
Directors: David Lowery
Writer: David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks, Malcolm Marmorstein, Seton I. Miller, S.S. Field
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Marcus Henderson, Aaron Jackson, Phil Grieve, Steve Barr, Keagan Carr Fransch, Jade Valour, Augustine Frizzell, Fancis Biggs, Jasper Putt
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 103 minutes
Production Company: Walt Disney Productions
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Budget: $65,000,000 (estimated)
It may be difficult finding someone who doesn’t love old Disney films. There’s just something about them that makes me feel good inside. They’re not flawless, but not much is. For myself it’s exciting to see them adapted with the latest technology. The movie-going audience has come a long way as far as expectations, but the major studios are constantly pushing the envelope in what they can deliver to the public. They accomplished that and more with this latest incarnation of Pete’s Dragon. This film reminded me why I love Disney films in the first place. There’s a level of love that was put into the script, and it’s apparent that a lot of thought went into the process.
Most great stories constantly pull on your heart strings, and that’s no different this time around. You’re immediately put into a place where only the unconscious wouldn’t feel an emotional impact.. There’s no fluff involved, and the events are as straight as an arrow as everything plays out as it should be and you watch the world grow around you. Even if expected, the film’s good nature brings feelings of joy.
Another joyful part is that of the character Pete (Oaks Fegely). He couldn’t be anymore adorable. For going through such a tragedy at a young age, he sure developed well for someone given his age. The young actor and was a shining gem in this film. Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) was as sweet as she could be. She was a strong woman in uniform that just wanted to do the right thing. Her character was overly comforting as both a mighty force and a loving mother. What’s even better is the foundation Grace received from her father Meacham (Robert Redford). He was like the perfect grandfather, always knowing the right thing to say at the right moments. There was a humbleness about him, like he knew there was some questions out there he didn’t know the answer to. It was refreshing seeing a character with so much wisdom.
Of course the star of the show is the dragon, Elliot .If the effects weren’t pulled off with precision this production would’ve been a flaming mess. Fortunately, it was exactly the opposite. Besides a couple of close up shots of Elliot’s face contrasted with Pete, the integration between cgi and live action was seamless. Seeing the giant green dragon in a wide shot with the rest of the forest was remarkable. It all looked photo real. Elliot was like the perfect pet you never had. Sweet enough to play in the backyard, and also dangerous enough to kill if necessary.
In addition, the film also had a number of funny moments, whether between the actors engaging on screen or Elliot being Elliot. For what it was, it had everything you could want; especially being a Disney film. I felt I was a kid again, not being able to contain my smile if I wanted to. The entire cast was well known across the board. They didn’t feel like characters, but real people living their lives. There was emotional depth, comedic moments, likeable characters, and an all-out adventure of fun. The ending was superb, and I’ll even ask for more.