—> don’t watch the trailer for it spoils too much <—
When watching Pete’s dragon, it becomes apparent how many similarities there are with 1982′ E.T. (which is no surprise , given the 1977 Pete’s dragon is a gloomy drama-musical).
Both stories deal with a young boy who befriends a strange creature (one an alien from outer space, the other a dragon from … err … somewhere), but the peaceful relationship is disturbed when the creature is being hunted down.
In the end – without spoiling anything – the good guys take charge and stand up for the safety of the creature and the boy who fell in love with it …
The ending of both films – E.T. & Pete’s dragon – is also quite similar.
It’s a tear-jerking ending that’ll wet even the eyes of the harshest persons out there. This movie, unlike so many fantasy films, goes straight into the heart of every child and every adult who never wanted to grow up. It’s not a perfect movie by far, but it is the perfect children’s movie!
It’s also one of the very best movies to come out in 2016 … and a must-see for everyone who wishes to leave behind their own reality, if only for a mere 103 minutes.
Where to begin – oh – where to begin?
The special effects are smooth like a baby’s skin, so much so in fact that you’ll forget Pete’s dragon is a fantasy-creature. It looks like a genuine animal. Computer-animated effects have come so far, they can blur the line between reality and fantasy to the point where you don’t know where the reality ends and the fantasy begins …
It’s not a groundbreaking special effects-movie, but it surely is a stand-out job from all the tech-guys involved in making the dragon come alive!
Nothing derives from the original ’70s movie with the same name, thank God! The original Pete’s dragon was a musical (imagine people singing when surrounded by a dragon?) and top of that, it was also a rather bleak drama about a runaway orphan from an abusive foster family.
Director David Lowery made the right choice by staying away as far as possible from the original, so as to make the whole package much more entertaining, and much more in line with what he thought a children’s movie should look like. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the new Pete’s dragon is better by a milestone.
The differentiation of both heroes and bad guys is much more refined, the dialogues are a lot more fun in that it contains a neat package of jokes and on-screen laughs timed to perfection, and even the build-up of the suspense and the exhilaration of wanting to see the dragon is a thousand times better illustrated.
Mind you, the dragon is no longer a cartoon drawn by a bunch of pencils like in the original one. This time it’s a living, breathing animal created by the greatest computers used in Hollywood today.
1) You’ll see its gaping mouth with sharp teeth.
2) You’ll see all kinds of stuff coming out of its nostrils.
3) You’ll even be able to distinguish every single hair on its wonderful greenish fur.
With such a marvelous depiction of a fantasy-beast comes a cast that brings home the bacon!
To replace an actor like Mickey Rooney is no easy job, but Robert Redford is more than capable of handling the job. His role is only minor, but when he appears on screen, you’ll instantly love his laid-back grampa approach.
It’s good to see the old man in another child-friendly fantasy film. The last time he came close to something like that was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and only at the behest of his grandchildren.
Bad guy of the lot is beautiful performed by Karl Urban who keeps his character in check. After all, this is a children’s movie and you wouldn’t want your bad guy to become some dark Hitler-psychopath.
The balance at which he plays a dumb ass he cares more about fame and the money that comes with it, rather than the safety of such a wondrous creature couldn’t have been done any better!
His ugly presence is gracefully lifted by the ever-beautiful face of Bryce Dallas Howard, a woman so cheerful and elegant no man on this Earth could ever dislike her (go on, I dare you!).
She plays the mother-like spirit in the movie who embraces the young boy from the forest with open arms.
Without spoiling too much, her reaction when she first sees the dragon will bring chills all over your body … like any more-than-decent actress should! This is by no means an Oscar-worthy performance, but she’s beautiful in more ways than one.
Jumping ships from one reptilian beast to another – remember: her last movie was Jurassic world – she’s gotten quite handy at acting alongside a CGI-creature.
But far-out the best performance comes from young talent Oakes Fegley.
With a career so brand-new it hardly contains any interesting roles, with the exception of his appearance in the TV-show Boardwalk Empire, this new upcoming actor plays the boy in the woods with such skillfulness and vulnerability, you’d actually think the filmmakers had dropped the boy in the woods for six months, or so.
The way he learns about new things in the modern world, human trades he never had a chance to learn, his kindred spirits with the dragon and most of all: the emotional scenes in the movie which – let’s face it! – for a young kid his age are some of the hardest to bring about are all so very well done … you’d think CGI was used on the boy rather than on the dragon.
The real beauty of Pete’s dragon is how everything comes together perfectly. Like someone sat down and actually took the time to puzzle all the pieces together, until it all connected.
There’s loads of fantasy movies out there, not to mention a heck of a lot more animated movies, but Pete’s dragon deserves to be called: one of this year’s very best movies and perhaps the single finest children’s fantasy film in recent years … a big bravo!!
did you know?
Director David Lowery chose to make Elliott a furry dragon, saying that he’d rather have “the kind of dragon you really want to give a hug to” than a Game Of Thrones type dragon, which he described as “cool, but scaly and cold”.
Give it to me short:
Pete’s dragon is a remake, yes, but it’s much better in virtually any department compared to the 1977-original. Why? Primarily because it’s not a drama nor a musical.
Granted, they didn’t have the means back then to create a life-breathing dragon (the original was simply drawn as a cartoon figure), but the new movie is a vast improvement!
The acting performances are far more worked out, balancing the serious emotions as well as the joyful laughter. The storytelling as well as the writing is much more pristine. And the movie itself has grown in maturity, without losing its basic foundation of being a children’s movie …
But the best has yet to come!
The acting of the young boy in the woods is no longer a silly Mickey Mouse-performance in a Disney movie. It has become a stellar performance that delicately shows the emotional relationship between a boy without his parents and the only friend he had. The endearing moments between the boy and his dragon are some of the most beautiful scenes of the entire movie.
Pete’s dragon isn’t difficult to comprehend. It’s not a masterpiece. It doesn’t wanna be! There are no Award-winning performances. No groundbreaking special effects or enticing use of camera angles. It’s not a movie that plays on your intelligence, but rather delves deeply into your heart and soul.
It’s a fabulously told fantasy-story that makes you remember your days as a child!
Pete’s dragon isn’t here to change the world.
All it does is take you on a journey … a journey you wish would never end!