Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oakes Fegley
Director: David Lowery
When it comes to live-action movies, Disney is on a red hot streak with Captain America Civil War, The Jungle Book, and Cinderella being some of their critical and commercial successes in the last year or so.
And that trend of smash hit movies looks set to continue with Pete's Dragon, which is a remake of the 1977 film of the same name. The movie also marks the return of David Lowery to the director's chair, in what is his first feature since Ain't Them Bodies Saints back in 2013.
For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales... until she meets Pete (Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott.
And from Pete's descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham's stories. With the help of Natalie (Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.
Pete's Dragon is another wonderful family film that has kept the heart and charm of the first while bringing the story and the special effects up to date. It really is a truly magical movie that will appeal to more than just the kids.
There is something so incredibly human about this story as Pete's Dragon is a tale about looking for a family, a place to belong, and about the importance of friendship.
The theme of friendship really is a powerful one and the bond between Pete and Elliot is the true soul of this story and it is just so heart-warming.
Having said that, director David Lowery doesn't allow the film to get lost in wave after wave of sentimentality; he finds the balance between heart, humour, character development, and edge of your seat moments so perfectly.
This is the biggest film of Lowery's directing career but he has helmed Pete's Dragon with an assured hand. The movie is a mixed of live action performances and special effects and Elliot the dragon looks truly wonderful up on the big screen.
Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford give good central performances and do bring a gravitas and a grounding to the story and to the central characters. However, it is Oakes Fegley who truly shines as Pete.
Pete's Dragon is the biggest film role of Fegley's career to date but he really is a talent to watch out for as he is just terrific. He deals with the CGI element like a pro and his interactions with Elliot are truly wonderful.
From the moment that I saw the first trailer for Pete's Dragon, it was a movie that promised to be a magical watch... Lowery and co really have not disappointed as this is just a wonderful family film.
Pete's Dragon brings this tale to a brand new generation but those who grew up with the original, can also kick back and enjoy it while reminiscing about the 1977 classic.
This is a movie that is packed with intrigue, adventure, and will bring a tear to your eye - it really is a family treat that's not to be missed this weekend.
Pete's Dragon is out now.