Pete’s Dragon, Disney’s 1977 animated/live-action family movie about an orphaned boy who befriends a giant green dragon, gets a whizzy CGI makeover with this entertaining fantasy adventure.
The original film’s animation was rather ropey, to be honest (and so were the songs; mercifully absent this time). Here, the digital effects turn Elliot the dragon into an impressively solid, very 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 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. But 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.
Certificate PG. Runtime 98 mins. Director David Lowery
Pete’s Dragon is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download from Walt Disney Studios.
- Notes to Self: A Director’s Diary – Director David Lowery narrates the personal diary he kept through the filming of “Pete’s Dragon” in this intimate and fascinating look at the movie’s making.
- Making Magic – Discover fun facts about what went into designing this spectacular, lovable dragon.
- “Disappearing” Moments – The director shares a montage of the film’s “lost” scenes.
- Welcome to New Zealand – Experience the wonders of New Zealand and learn why it’s a magical place to visit … and to make a movie.
- Audio Commentary – Gain an insider perspective from director David Lowery, co-writer Toby Halbrooks and actors Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence.
“Nobody Knows” by The Lumineers
“Something Wild” by Lindsey Stirling featuring Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness