“Pete’s Dragon” Review

18 August, 2016

Director: David Lowery
Screenwriters: David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks
Director of Photography: Bojan Bazelli 
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford

Synopsis: An orphan boy who lives in the wild with a magical dragon experiences a whole new way of life after a local family take him back to their hometown. Despite being separated from his long-term companion, the boy takes a trip back to see his old friend only to have a ruthless lumberjack attempt to capture the dragon for personal gain.

Pete’s Dragon Review:

For those who were lucky enough to grow up watching the 1977 version of “Pete’s Dragon,” it can be a little disheartening to discover that yet another obscure classic has been thrown onto the reboot wagon. The original, while inherently flawed and dated, has a peculiar charm that Disney has somewhat rejected in the modern age. Gone are the hillbilly child abusers who follow the young Pete and his beloved dragon all the way to the seaside town of Passamaquoddy. Instead, the movie reroutes its intentions in a “Jungle Book” format which sees the orphan boy and his beloved dragon fall victim to deforestation and violence.

Where the appeal of the original film relies heavily on its “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”-style idiosyncrasies, most of which involve bizarre musical numbers, eccentric medicine men and a group of vagrants, the remake respectfully sands down the rough edges but it ends up turning an inherently quirky story into something rather generic. With the addition of an ear-bleeding score composed by Daniel Hart, the film becomes rather trite and the young Pete fails to match the charisma of his winged companion.

While Pete and his foster family cosy up in small-town America, the adorable Elliot shines as the lone pup who is carelessly led into danger after being separated from his best friend. Considering the breadth of the dragon’s screen time, the special effects hold up surprisingly well and the CGI doesn’t take away from the gawky charm of the original cartoon dragon. Sadly, the adorableness of the furry fellow is never enough to over overcome the cringiness of twangy all-American aesthetic and the inclusion of a group of villainous lumberjacks only makes matters worse.

 

   

Summary
Review Date
Movie
Pete's Dragon
Rating
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