‘Pete’s Dragon’ (2016, PG)

Is Disney’s latest remake, ‘Pete’s Dragon’, a roaring success?

After years of living in the forests, Pete (Oakes Fegley) has a very limited understanding of the world outside of the tress. He has no family, no friends – except for a mysterious dragon he lives with named Elliot. All is well until one day a group of wood-cutters discovers him and Elliot, and the little boy is taken away from his forest home by Park Ranger Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her daughter Natalie (Oona Laurence) to live with them. But, Elliot is not as well received and Pete must battle to get back to the forest and protect his one and only friend from the money-hungry wood-cutters and their rifles.

This film wasn’t actually too bad. Most of the cast gave good performances, although at some points towards the beginning of the film I thought Fegley’s portrayal of Pete was a bit wooden and some of the dialogue between him and his dragon was a bit cringe-worthy, however both the acting and the dialogue improved as the film went on, resulting in an emotional third act.

And what a third act! The ending of ‘Pete’s Dragon’ really pulls on the heart-strings, especially with the facial expressions from the dragon, Elliot. I felt that the character of Elliot was really well done, first of all with the look and second of all with his movements. Instead of scales and red irises Elliot has soft green fur and wide, child-like eyes, giving him a friendly appearance. His facial expressions and movements gave clear but not over-the-top clues as to how the dragon was feeling which was good as it’s not always easy to understand a character who only speaks in low grumbles and roars. The personality of Elliot reminded me a bit of that of Toothless from 2010’s ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ – fun, playful and happy.

This film actually reminded me a lot of ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ – and not just because of the title. ‘Pete’s Dragon’ has a similar premise; boy goes into forest, meets dragon everyone thinks is dangerous, befriends dragon etc. Because of this, the film did feel a bit familiar at times, however this isn’t as bad a thing as it might be with other films. For one, ‘Pete’s Dragon’ is a remake of the 1977 original and so is obviously going to mirror that film in some ways.

Overall ‘Pete’s Dragon’ is a good, fun, family film for all to enjoy featuring some good special effects and emotion. However some occasionally wooden acting and familiar plot points mean I’ll have to give ‘Pete’s Dragon’ eight-out-of-ten.



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