For the most part, I have enjoyed the majority of the live-action remakes of Disney movies. 2016’s Pete’s Dragon is one of the more underappreciated live-action movies Disney has done in recent years. The first thing that is worth noting is that this is not a remake in the way Jungle Book or The Lion King are. Pete’s Dragon is more of a reimagining in the way that Maleficent was.
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The Film Review
Disney movies are known for having a lot of heart, but I feel that Pete’s Dragon manages to walk this fine line. That fine line is that it has a lot of heart, but it also breaks that heart and repairs it multiple times in the movie. It makes Pete’s Dragon really tug at those heartstrings more than most other live-action Disney remakes have.
The movie starts out in 1977 which is kind of cool as that is when the original movie was released. Our main character Pete is in an accident that leaves his mother and father dead. After escaping a pack of wolves, Pete comes across a kind-spirited Dragon named Elliot.
The relationship that blossoms between the two is very well done. Elliot feels like family to Pete, far more so than the people who he is staying with after he parents have passed away. Oakes Fegley the young actor who plays Pete does such a wonderful job. Especially when you consider how young he was when he made this movie.
Another stand out performance for me is Bryce Dallas Howard who I have loved in everything that she has done recently. She plays the role of a forest ranger called Grace Meacham. Grace really does care for Pete and just wants the best for him and the relationship between her and Pete is just lovely.
Of course, the fact that Elliot is this big dragon living in the woods can only go unnoticed for so long. An accident happens and the townsfolk try to hunt Elliot down. It is really hard to watch and in all honesty while this is a fantasy movie it is the kind of thing you would imagine would happen if a kind spirited creature was found in the forest.
Pete and Elliot are very close and Elliot knowing that he needs to leave Pete so that Pete will be safe and left alone is heartbreaking. The movie does have a very happy ending and all the characters that you come to care about in the movie do get to move on and be happy, but at the same time when you sit and think about it the end of Pete and Elliot is very sad.
David Lowery wrote and directed the movie and he did a truly fantastic job. He really makes you care for Pete and Elliot, yet at the same time, you know deep down that Pete does need to let Elliot go so that he can grow up and live a proper life.
Unfortunately, while it made a profit, Pete’s Dragon did not set the box office on fire the way some of the other live action Disney remakes have done. Still, with that being said, I have found that those who have seen the movie have really enjoyed it. If you are one of the many who has not yet seen this movie, please do yourself and give it a watch.