Brother of dragons.
The latest from Disney’s back catalogue to receive a live-action remake (following the success of The Jungle Book and in the lead-up to next year’s Beauty and the Beast), Pete’s Dragon is kind of an exception to the rule in that the 1977 original was a live-action film whose scaly star just happened to be animated.
This time around the story feels a little more mature and benefits considerably from the superbly realised dragon, Elliot. It’s less a whimsical musical as a thoughtful take on loneliness, adolescence, and self-discovery.
Pete (played by the adorable Oakes Fegley) loses his parents as a young boy and winds up in the woods with nothing but his new-found reptilian friend. The two forge a “boy-and-his-dog” bond that ensures Pete’s safety and survival whilst in the wilderness.
Pete is eventually spotted in the forest and taken in by park ranger Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who’s understandably curious about what he’s doing there. The little boy, of course, wants only to return to Elliot, but is mesmerised by the way the ‘real’ world works. When Pete confesses that his mysterious friend may be a dragon, the town buzzes with intrigue, and the local hunters load up.
The revamped Pete’s Dragon is a more pensive take on the original, losing (some of) the songs and gaining a magnificent CGI character, broadening its appeal to an audience of all ages. A heart-warming adventure for the whole family.
In cinemas: September 15, 2016
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Robert Redford
Directed by: David Lowrey