Pete's Dragon: "You Don't Have To Run Anymore, Pete. You Can Stay With Us"

Director: David Lowery
Writer:     David Lowery
                Toby Halbrooks
Starring: Oakes Fegley
                Bryce Dallas Howard
                Wes Bentley
                Karl Urban
                Oona Laurence
                Robert Redford
Rating:    ****

Release Date: Out Now

For years Pete's Dragon was one of my favourite go to Disney movies when I was a child. I always found the notion of a cartoon dragon in a real world fascinating, and was drawn to the innocent and loving relationship between boy and beast. Now eighteen years since a young me first saw Pete's Dragon, Disney has decided to make it the next in their recent live action re-imaginings, and while it is still just as magical and far more emotional than the original; for me the 1977 classic remains my favourite.

Bryce Dallas Howard
Pete (Fegley) was orphaned when his parents died in a car accident in the forest; and it is there where he has grown up since. Alongside him for that entire period is his enchanting dragon friend, Elliott. Elliott makes sure that Pete is safe and loves and cares for him in the wilderness; and though strange to think of, has become the parent figure in Pete's life. However, when one day a forest ranger finds Pete alone in the forest, their relationship and lives are turned upside down, and they're friendship and lives are put at risk.

the 2016 Pete's Dragon is a far more realistic movie, believe it or not; and despite the mythical creature at the centre of it all, really depends on the characters being full of depth and having a moral background. In the original you have the over the top villains, the Gurgans (lead by the wonderful Shelly Winters), the village idiot portrayed by the talented Mickey Rooney, and of course the sweet woman who saves and believes in Pete (played wonderfully by Helen Reddy). These characters and the ensemble around them are all very cartoonish themselves, which means the entire film is full of life and excitement. Whereas in 2016 everything is too real, including the dragon himself; making it less magical and more emotional.

Oakes Fegley & Elliot
Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace the forest ranger is utterly believable and embraces the character and film completely. You feel exactly how she feels towards Pete, and it is that quality that makes the heart wrenching final act even more emotional for the audience. 

The stand out performance comes from Oakes Fegley, a young boy who carryis this movie the entire way, and his performance is what keeps you engaged and drawn in. You sense every ounce of emotion that he pours out on the screen, and fully gets you t believe in his relationship with a dragon, making it easier to understand and follow (especially floor the younger audience).

This review may have made it sound like I did not enjoy Pete's Dragon, but that simply isn't the case; I just preferred the original due to it's light hearted nature and cartoonish quality. 2016 Pete's Dragon is a marvellous family drama that is filled with heart, laughter and plenty of tears. Special congratulations to the animators of Elliot the dragon, who managed to create a realistic beast fills you with a childish giddiness, that you empathise for and completely fall in love with. 

The film is made using sweeping camera shots and a mild grittiness that really adds to the rural and realistic nature of the film. David Lowery has thought intently about how to bring the script alive, and his direction has absolutely secured it a place next to Disney's recent live-action remakes...I just wish it has some musical numbers.

Pete's Dragon - Trailer