Pete’s Dragon is the 2016 version of the original premise from the 1977 film. This version is directed by David Lowery with a screenplay from Lowery and Toby Halbrooks. It stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford. It’s about a kid who survives a car crash, who’s then orphaned, and then meets a dragon in upper north west. Flash forward to six years later and how does the “modern” world deal with this unlikely pair.
The good; this film contains a lot of what I’ve been searching for and wanting in movies over the past couple of years. There’s a certain charm having this film take place in the 80s where times were simpler and there’s no time stamp to indicate that in the course of the movie, yet it’s a place and a feeling that I know immediately.
The relationship between Pete and Elliot (the dragon) is the core of the film. The movie works to create and earn the emotional moments. Oakes Fegley does a marvelous job as Pete. From the first time you see him on screen you’re right there with him and you stay tethered to his journey on an emotional and a vicarious level.
Having Robert Redford in a supporting role on screen was perfect, in that it gave it a certain gravitas, which was only amplified by having him do the opening and closing narration. It reads like Pete’s book, which is perfect for the film.
The bad; this movie isn’t going to be seen by America, they’d rather go see Suicide Squad (about a 67.2% drop in the box office for its second weekend).
America’s great Northwest doesn’t look like the great Northwest anymore, most of this film was shot in New Zealand… sad what we’ve done to our forests.
Overall, what a delight. I was not expecting the amount of joy and emotion I was going to feel going into this film. I highly recommend this movie for everyone. Everyone involved does a wonderful job in placing you in a certain place and time that may not exist anymore, yet feels familiar in all the right spots. Do yourself a favor and go see this one.