Writer: David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks (Screenplay) Seton I Miller, SS. Field (Story)
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Isiah Whitlock Jr
Plot: The adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon.
Tagline – Some secrets are too big to keep.
Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Huge Improvement
Story: Pete’s Dragon starts when Pete (Fegley) loses his family in a car accident, he ends living the next six years in the woods with his pet dragon Elliot, this changes when he sees a local park ranger Grace (Howard) who is watching over a logging company chopping down the woods, when Grace’s daughter Natalie (Laurence) discovers him.
Grace takes Pete into her family to learn the truth about what happened to Pete’s family, all while Elliot watches over him, which grabs the attention of the local hunters that want to try and capture a dragon.
Thoughts on Pete’s Dragon
Characters – Pete is the young boy that loses his family in a car crash, he ends up hiding out in the woods for six years with Elliot the dragon, he isn’t interested in returning to the modern world, even after being offered a way back to live a normal. He wants to protect his dragon, which will see him going through a much darker story than the original film. Grace is the park ranger that discovers Pete, offers him a home with her family as they look to figure out who he is, she ha always listened to her father’s stories about the dragon in the woods and doesn’t know what to believe before she sees him. Meacham is the old member of the town, he has seen the dragon before, but unlike the original, he has been turned into a character that brings knowledge, rather than just a drunk. Natalie is the daughter of Grace, she brings Pete a friend that he hasn’t had in years, being somebody that wants to enjoy the legend too.
Performances – Oakes Fegley in the leading role is the highlight of the film, he shows how emotional trauma his character has been through. Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford both give us the strong supporting performances with Wes Bentley and Karl Urban complete the main cast well too.
Story – The story here follows an orphaned young boy that befriends a dragon in the woods before getting found and offered a chance of a normal life. This is a remake and it does take a much better direction for the story telling side of the film. we have darker moment with the ideas how Pete is dealing with his own trauma, the hunting for the dragon is different, while it might still be for money, it isn’t a scammer like the original film. each new theme does add a lot of realism to what Pete is going through, with the exception of the dragon of course. We do get moments that do feel slightly preachy though, with the villainous figures being lumberjacks taking too much of the local woods away. The grounded realism in this story is what does improve it.
Adventure/Comedy – The adventure in this film shows how Pete has been living in own adventure to deal with his own trauma. The comedy does seem to have been taken out of this film for the most part.
Settings – The film is set in a small town of hard working people, they have a legend of a dragon, this helps the settings show how together the people will be.
Special Effects – The dragon is the effects in this film, which is always looking amazing for film.
Final Thoughts – This is a hugely improved remake that builds on the original concept which grounds the story in realism for young Pete.
Overall: Remake that works well.