“Pete’s Dragon” is a Summer Surprise

petes-dragonPete’s Dragon is written and directed by David Lowery and stars Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, and Karl Urban. The film is a live-action remake of the 1977 original by the same name and is about a boy who befriends a dragon after being left stranded in the woods.

This is a movie I was excited to see, even though I admittedly have never seen the original, but Disney is 2/2 on their live-action remakes thus far, so I had faith they could keep that going.

The Good

The way that the dragon, aka Elliot, looked in the trailers really got me excited. Well it turns out, Elliot not only is visually stunning but a truly beautifully done character in every way. Elliot is a scene-stealer every single time he is on screen, with his incredibly well done facial expressions, as well as his chemistry with Pete, played by Oakes Fegley.

Fegley is terrific as Pete, giving the young character some real power emotionally, but it is his interactions with Elliot that puts him over the top. He and Elliot work wonders together, and from their opening interaction all the way towards the finale, I felt the powerful bond between them, and it created some exceptionally beautiful moments.

Director David Lowery does a wonderful job here with balancing the human moments with the CGI dragon, as Elliot never feels out of place in this world. Lowery also knows how to create the feels, as he does it numerous times throughout this movie, but I never felt they were too forced or cheesy, in fact, they were all superbly effective.

Bryce Dallas Howard is also good in her role, but of the bigger names in this movie, it was Robert Redford who I enjoyed the most. The veteran brings even more heart and wonderment to Elliot than before, and I found his character very entertaining to watch.

The camerawork and score are both excellent, as there are dozens of shots where I was in awe with how scenes were filmed. From the beautifully done introduction to every scene between Pete and Elliot, this movie knows exactly the notes it needs to hit, and it hits them incredibly well.

The Bad

Speaking of hitting the notes, Pete’s Dragon does use the classic Disney formula throughout its storyline. I understand this is a remake, but besides the dragon, this film feels a lot like many Disney movies that have come before it.

Wes Bentley is also in this movie, and he is a great actor, but he is completely wasted in this movie. I kept waiting for Bentley to really do anything, but he never does, and I was very disappointed to see him do so little.

Conclusion

Pete’s Dragon is another terrific live-action remake to add to Disney’s excellent track record. The dragon is visually and emotionally breathtaking, as are the camerawork and direction, and I was amazed at just how much I truly enjoyed this film. It has been months since I have truly loved a movie after leaving a theater, but that drought is over with this movie.Badge-9

Get tickets and showtimes for Pete’s Dragon here

What did you think of Pete’s Dragon? Comment below with what you thought.


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