Earlier this year in my review for The Jungle Book, Disney’s latest live action adaption of their classic kids movies, I mentioned that Disney might actually be on to something and have found a way to bring those classic stories from our childhood’s to a whole new audience. Right after I said that they talked about word of Beauty and the Beast coming out next year (look at those set photo’s, they look excellent!) and now we have Dumbo and Little Mermaid on the schedule as well. Normally this might be something I would complain about, but so far these live action remakes have been so damn good, I am actually excited to see what they do next!
I was aware that Pete’s Dragon was on the summer movie schedule but I couldn’t find myself getting to excited about it. Pete’s Dragon is one of the very few Disney Masterpiece Collection movies I never really cared for. Now granted that may just be due to the fact that I never actually owned it, like I did the many others, giving me numerous viewings over the years and a lot of time to love them.
Still I wasn’t to excited at first. The trailer however looked promising so there was a bit of “did they do it again” feel in the air.
Well not only has Disney do it again, but this time they have outdone themselves! Pete’s Dragon is an absolute wonder to behold and to date the very best of the Disney live action remakes. It is classic old school film making, that tells a wonderful story, has stunning visuals, loads of humor, characters we care about and most importantly emotion to spare.
The story is about a young boy named Pete (Oakes Fegley) who’s parents are killed in a car accident, that leaves Pete stranded in the woods. Pete is adopted by a giant green Dragon named Elliot and spends the next six years living in a cave with his new best friend. There is an absolutely breath taking and wonderful scene early in the movie, were Pete and Elliot are playing in the forest and doing their daily routines that just completely warms the heart.
Soon Pete is discovered by a park Ranger named Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) who daughter Natalie (Oona Laurence) see’s him playing in the forest while she is arguing with her finance Jack (Wes Bently) and his brother Gavin (Karl Urban) who are construction workers, clashing over how much of the forest should be taken down.
Of course nobody believes Pete’s story about Elliot and think it is just a bunch of mumbo jumbo, all expect Grace’s father (Robert Redford) who claims when he was younger he saw the dragon as well.
This is just such a straight forward well told story, that wastes no time with silly sub plots or pointless scenes to advance the story. Everything is there for a reason and everything matters to the picture. Its so simple but it works so magically here.
The CGI work is truly eye popping, as Elliot looks like a real deal dragon, with every hair on his body blowing in the wind as he flies through the air in some truly astonishing scenes. The photography of the film is beautiful as well, with some shots of the forest that will truly leave you in awe.
But the real stars of the show are the actors, all of whom are wonderful in their roles and make you understand them and truly care about them. Even Urban’s “evil” brother is a character who’s actions make will make sense to you. You truly care about everyone in this movie and that makes the heart strings tug just a bit more tight in some of the films emotional moments.
I truly can not say enough wonderful things about this film. From the minute it started to the second it ended, I was totally captivated and full invested in the story. Director David Lowery truly captures the magic of childhood and presents it on screen in a epic way. This is truly a movie that both kids and adults will absolutely fall in love with.
Pete’s Dragon is without question one of 2016’s very best films and it will be on my Top 10 list at the end of the year without question. Movies that truly make me love their characters so much, that I could easily sit through another 4 hours with them, are so rare and fare in between, but it is why I love going to the movies, cause when you do find one, it stays with you and that is what Pete’s Dragon will do for everyone who has the pleasure of seeing it!