Disney gives its 1977 animated/live-action family movie a whizzy CGI makeover with Oakes Fegley as the orphaned boy befriending a giant green dragon.
The original film’s animation was rather ropey, but in this entertaining family adventure the digital effects turn Elliot the dragon into an impressively solid, striking figure. And with his green fur and affectionately playful, doglike manner, he’s also very endearing.
The beautiful setting – the wilds of the American northwest, where the dragon takes the five-year-old Pete (Oakes Fegley) under his wing and becomes his protector after he loses his parents in a car crash – proves similarly beguiling.
The plot isn’t the film’s strongest suit: when the story jumps ahead six years, the action mostly revolves around extended episodes of flight and pursuit, capture and rescue.
However, Bryce Dallas Howard’s kindly forest ranger and Robert Redford’s tale-spinning old-timer add to the film’s charm, and when Elliot and Pete take to the air, the flying scenes are exhilarating.