Pete, a boy is found in a forest. Apparently he's been living there for six years after an accident took his parents. A ranger named Grace decides to take him in and when she asks him how he survived all by himself, he says he had a friend, Elliot, with him. He draws a picture of Elliot and it's a picture of a dragon. Grace takes the picture to her father who claims that years ago, he encountered a dragon in the forest. Grace takes Pete back to the forest and he shows them where he lives and Elliot. A man saw Elliot and when he tells about his experience and is not believed, he sets out to prove it by capturing the dragon.Written by
Although Not A Masterpiece, It Is Still A Magical & Wonderful Gem.
Ever have films that you know aren't beyond amazing but you love them anyway? Something happens to be hilarious or an old action movie happens to be a fun but you know it won't receive rave reviews. That is how I feel about the more serious remake of Pete's Dragon. Although it has received high reviews, its no ET or Its a Wonderful Life. There are flaws that this movie has, but none diminish the overall quality. In fact, most of the flaws work as both strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of what's good or bad, the movie really got to me.
This remake of the 1977 musical animated/live-action comedy is completely different. In this case, different mean better. I'm a sucker for 2D animation mixed with live-action and that was the sole reason for me liking it the little bit that I did. This remake ditches almost all of that and goes for a Tarzan-meets-ET vibe. Pete and his family are on a road trip where a tragic car crash leads Pete to be the sole survivor in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Six years later, Pete (played by newcomer Oakes Fegley) has been able to survive in the woods with the aide of his best friend, a dragon he names Elliot. Elliot looks a little bit like traditional dragon, but he is presented more like a big green dog in this. That's because that's the essence of the story: a boy and his dog. A lonely boy has the most unlikely best friend. People have pointed out that Elliot is not in much of the film. The movie did not need to feature Elliot in most of the movie, it is about Pete's escapades made safe by his dragon.
So Elliot has helped Pete survive in the woods for the past six years. When lumberjacks start to tear down parts of the woods, Pete is spotted by young Natalie (Oona Laurence) and her aunt Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) who is a forest ranger. They help Pete adjust to life outside of isolation while trying to make sense of his past. Grace's father (Robert Redford) had been telling legends of a local dragon, unsure if he saw a real one himself when he was younger. So Pete leads Grace and her family to Elliot where they try to help him escape to freedom.
This is a beautiful and magical film that takes me back to being a kid. I'm sure some kids may find this boring, but I found myself totally enchanted throughout the whole movie. A few times, Pete's mother and Grace say to him "You are the bravest boy I've ever known." They way that all that goes down is enough to make me melt. The movie may be simplistic with not much layers in some of the characters of story, and the premise may have been done before, but all is executed so perfectly. That is how I think this flaw serves as a strength, it didn't need to be all complicated for the viewer to be enchanted. Want a complex film? Go see Double Indemnity. Pete's Dragon proves that a movie can be simplistic but still wondrous, if only done right.
What keeps this film from being just eye-candy are the actors. They are all so charming and done to perfection. The stand out is Oakes Fegley as Pete. Rarely do I ever see a performance by a child done with such grace and at such a high degree. He barely has any lines, so his behaviour needed to be extra perfect. These days its pretty hard to be a silent actor, but Oakes is perfect. In a year of feral boys, this is the best performed. And his relationship with Eliot is so wonderful. One of the better friendships of recent times. Jacob Tremblay from Room was the most recent breakout child star with a promising future, now we have Oakes Fegley. I would love to see them do a movie together. Oona Laurence is also a great young actress. Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, and Robert Redford are also fine.
Is is a big deal that it doesn't achieve the highest honour? Of course not. This is an enchanting feel-good movie that everybody can enjoy.
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