In New England in the early 20th century, Pete is a nine-year-old orphan escaping from his brutal adoptive parents, the Gogans, with his only friend, a cartoon dragon named Elliott. They successfully escape to Passamaquoddy, Maine, and live with Nora, a lighthouse keeper, and her father, Lampie. Elliott is sought for medicinal purposes by the corrupt Dr. Terminus. Written by
Matthew Anscher <email@example.com>
"Pete's Dragon" is not the last Disney classic combining live-action and animation (although the dragon is really the only cartoon in it), but it's one of the last in the traditional sense. That is why it looks older than it really is. It's from 1977 but in many ways it looks like something from the 60's or even the 50's. This means that even in 1977 it already looked dated, an impression that is even stronger considering "galactic" movies like '2001: A Space Odyssey', 'Star Wars' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' and "galactic" TV series such as 'Star Trek' and 'Battlestar Gallactica'.
But the dated style for its time isn't really a fault. It's just temperament. Actually, "Pete's Dragon" has a charm of its own. It's a timeless classic. This was one of my childhood films.
Settings are authentic and owners of a great and natural beauty. I wonder if Passamaquoddy exists for real. Nevertheless, Passamaquoddy is one heck of a name. Not as difficult to spell as "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (and by no means as difficult as to say it backwards, which is "dociousaliexpiisticfragicalirupus" but that's going a bit too far, don't you think?), yet still a little difficult to pronounce at first. Takes its time to learn how to pronounce. But it's not as hard to spell as Doc Terminus wants to make us believe (ha ha ha).
The dragon Elliott is cute and very friendly and sweet. If he was real, he'd make a wonderful pet.
The kid is cute. What ever happened to Sean Marshall? He was both a very talented actor and a gifted singer. In other words, he was an authentic actor and singed like an angel. Speaking of music, this movie has immensely charming songs. "Candle on the Water" is soft and very relaxing. "It's Not Easy" is very touching and beautiful. "Boo Bop Bop Bop Bop (I Love You, Too)" is quite cute. "Brazzle Dazzle Day" is a feel-good and very optimistic song. "There's Room for Everyone" is another wonderful and nostalgic song. "Bill of Sale" has a different nature than all the songs previously mentioned, but it's just as great and memorable.
Jim Dale is priceless as the sly as a fox Dr. Terminus and Red Buttons is hilarious as his follower Hoagy. Hoagy is the typical Disney follower of a villain: mostly harmless, not truly evil or threatening, just a poor guy who made the wrong friend. That's real acting in both cases!
Charlie Callas makes very well Elliott's sounds. Helen Reddy and Mickey Rooney are great too. The actors who portray the Gogans are quite convincing in their roles. The Gogans are dirty and creepy, they aren't nice and likable people, but there are moments when they're funny. Pete's teacher isn't a nice and likable person either, but the actress convinces in her portrayal.
Title in Portugal: 'Meu Amigo o Dragão'.
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