Writer: Malcolm Marmorstein (Screenplay) Seton I Miller, S.S. Field (Story)
Starring: Helen Reddy, Jim Dale, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, Sean Marshall
Plot: An orphan boy and his magical dragon come to town with his abusive adoptive parents in pursuit.
Tagline – Featuring Elliott, the fearsome, frolicking, fun-loving dragon!
Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Great Family Film
Story: Pete’s Dragon starts when orphaned boy Pete (Marshall) is trying to escape from his abusive family along with his dragon Elliot, who just so happens to be able to become invisible. Pete finds himself in a new fishing town, where Nora (Reddy) and her drunk father Lampie (Rooney) take him in, with Nora letting Pete believe the dragon is real, while Lampie has seen it for himself.
When a stranger and con-man Dr Terminus (Dale) arrives in town, he learns about Elliot and wants to dragon for his own reasons, which will see Elliot suffer, can the town and Pete come together for the better.
Thoughts on Pete’s Dragon
Characters – Pete is an orphaned young boy, he is in an abusive family that makes him to work he isn’t old enough to be doing, he manages to escape with the help of his magical dragon that guides him to freedom, he gets a chance with a new family and town where his stories about the dragon turn the heads of the people. Nora is the kind lady that takes Pete into her home, she lives and operates the lighthouse with her father, while hoping to see her partner return from the ocean. Dr Terminus is a con-man that goes from town to town taking people’s money for false promises of his medicine, he wants the dragon to help him improve his own profits.
Performances – Sean Marshall as the young boy which works without being annoying which his character could easily become. Helen Reddy gives us on of the purest nice woman performances in film. Jim Dale does make for an entertaining villain through the film. Mickey Rooney does bring us the extra comedy though it doesn’t always hit.
Story – The story follows a young boy with a magical dragon escaping from an abusive family finding a kinder family while escape the clutches of people that want him or the dragon. The idea of the story is delightful because it shows that the magical dragon is here for a reason, to help a young child in need, it does show how people can look at people that could fear change instead of accepting change, only it does feel like certain elements have dated in cultural story. We do get everything needed to hit the emotional factor showing the different nature of humans in the era this is set.
Adventure/Comedy – The adventure side of the film shows how Pete has made a friend that most don’t know even exist. The comedy does come from Elliot which can get laughs, while the rest of the humour does come from mishaps going on.
Settings – The film is set in a small fishing town which sees everyone that lives there knows each other and what is going on in town.
Animation – The animation comes from seeing Elliot on screen and for the time this made everything looks brilliant.
Final Thoughts – This is a wonderful 70’s Disney movie that showed us just how life can be difficult until something magical could change it for one young boy.
Overall: Charming adventure.