Pete’s Dragon the blended live action and animated feature was a film when I was very young, so I have fond memories of it. Now Disney in 2016 has come out with a total live-action version of it. Now that I am much older I know that I am not the target audience that the film is aimed at but due to nostalgia I was looking forward to it.
A boy is found in the forest. His name is Pete (played by Oakes Begley) and he has been living there for six years alone after his parents died from an accident. Grace (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a ranger in the forest, decides to bring him home with her. Once there she questions Pete about how he survived that long alone in the forest. He tells her that his friend Elliot helped him. Pete draws a picture of Elliot and it is a dragon.
Grace takes that hand drawn picture to her father (played by Robert Redford) and he tells her that about a year ago he saw a dragon in the forest. Wanting to get to the bottom of this, Grace takes Pete to the forest and asks him to show her Elliot. Pete brings Grace to where he and Elliot lived.
A man (played by Karl Urban) has seen Elliot and tells his friends about it. They don’t believe him so he sets out to capture Elliot to prove he was right.
Disney seems very keen at taking another look at their older animated films in a live action type way lately. Cinderella and The Jungle Book were redone recently and Beauty and the Beast is coming up soon. Staying true to the feeling generated by the original film, this is in no way a cheap cash grab by the studio. The story is different from the original but the emotion is kept the same. Sentimental without tipping over into cheesy territory.
This version is a rather straight to the point retelling of the story. Rather than make it all about the special effects (though the dragon is great) or CGI director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) keeps the focus on the emotions of the story. The whole thing, despite the fact that there is a dragon involved, feels very organic and natural. It has that old school Disney feel to it that does not come around very often anymore.
Truly a film for all ages.
– Notes to Self: A Director’s Diary (1080p, 7:31)
-Making Magic (1080p, 2:12)
-“Disappearing” Moments (1080p, 9:12)
-Bloopers (1080p, 1:28)
-Audio Commentary: Director & Co-Writer David Lowery, Co-Writer Toby Halbrooks, and Actors Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence Music Video (1080p, 3:12): “Nobody Knows” by The Lumineers.
-Music Video (1080p, 3:45): “Something Wild” by Lindsey Stirling Featuring Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.
-Welcome to New Zealand (1080p, 1:56): Cast and crew talk up filming in New Zealand.