Film Review – Pete’s Dragon (2016)

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Pete's Dragon

Without a doubt, there is something endearing about Disney’s new feature; ‘Pete’s Dragon.’ It’s a sentimental, satisfying and superb piece of film making. Based on a 1977 film of the same title, the 2016 version is truly a remake well worth watching. This is simply because it’s a family film that doesn’t cause offence. Nonetheless some scenes contain upsetting sequences for the little ones, such as the film’s opening of a car crash with the five year old Pete and his parent’s dying. However without this tragic beginning, there would be no story of Pete finding his future Dragon friend.

The director, David Lowery has constructed a film of the adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon. Let us make clear that Elliot cannot be compared to Daenerys Targaryen’s vicious but loyal monsters. Elliot is without a doubt a cute, fluffy, green dragon that you’d want as a pet. Be that as it may, owning Elliot is like owning a pit-bull terrier. It’s powerful, has the ability to kill if provoked but will be loyal to its master like the T-800 protects John Connor. The fact that the audience witness Elliot’s love for Pete, one can tell that they have a bond that you wouldn’t want to break.

Sadly, this is what will occur. As soon as the local residents of the forest intervene with Pete’s friendship with Elliot, the adventures begin as we yearn to see them unite back together just like King Kong and Ann Darrow. The cast of this film is unadulterated perfection. Our lead child actor Oakes Fegley as Pete can be compared to a little Tarzan/Mowgli. His shyness and vulnerability of accepting humanly love for the first time besides his dragon is very sentimental and touching. Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, Grace; a forest ranger steals the film as her performance is so loving, tender and caring towards Pete. She doesn’t exaggerate, but plays a loving parent who will be there as a surrogate mother for Pete, our protagonist.

The beautiful sequence of seeing Pete run from the hospital in his hospital gown searching for Elliot swinging from place to place, whilst the police and authorities try to capture him is excellent. It reminds us that love is so powerful that any child would do this to find their parent. The fact that Pete’s Dragon is the so called parent is what makes this film a treasure.

Moreover, Robert Redford must be commended as he now embraces roles that customise his age. To see him play a Granddad figure telling old tales to children that he once saw this mythical dragon is told beautifully that you’d feel proud to have a grandfather like Robert Redford. Overall ‘Pete’s Dragon’ is a gem of a family film. It reminds us to not judge a book by its cover and to treat everyone with respect regardless of being a rare mythical creature. Love the environment, love the animals that wander it and they will love you is what this film connotes.

[rating=4] | Aly Lalji

Fantasy, Adventure, Family | USA, 2016 | PG |Walt Disney Studios | 12th August 2016 (UK) | Dir.David Lowery | Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley, Oona Laurence