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
When Pete climbs onto the school bus, that is a reference to when Pete followed the school children in the original movie. See more »
There is a scene when they enter the main street and it is set up like an American street, i.e.: drivers on the right side and marking on the right.. BUT of on a side street, they have failed to correct the New Zealand road markings and cars are on the left. See more »
[finding Elliot's paw print]
Hey, guys. What do you think?
Have you ever seen a bear that big?
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I worry about taking pot shots at a movie like Pete's Dragon. No one wants a twentysomething's jaded take on a kid's movie. I am aware I am not the target audience. The ticket vendor's surprise at my selection was no surprise to me. What can I say? The other option was an anthropomorphic hot dog. I took the chance because a children's film can be a light fantasy. Disney has taught everyone that "fun for the whole family" is not a death sentence. So when I criticize Pete's Dragon, understand I am not assailing aspects of the genre, e.g. the simplistic plot. That's not the movie's goal nor should it be my point. Pete's Dragon fails because it is utterly devoid of wonder.
True, wonder is a pretty squishy concept. Fortunately for me, my sense of wonder need not go on trial. That's because of my official co-reviewer, the kid who sat immediately next to me in the otherwise empty theater. He looked about the same age as Pete, our protagonist. I regret not asking. Regardless, I understand why this story could be appealing to my new colleague. Pete is tragically separated from his parents, but is rescued by a forest dwelling dragon. Pete names his new friend Elliot and together they spend their days playing in the woods and sleeping in a tree/cave/house. It is an idyllic existence, but it is ruined by the interference of other humans. Pete is threatened by greedy loggers and, the Nazis of family movies, child protective services. However, our hero finds some allies in ranger Grace (Howard) and her storytelling father (Redford). The entire movie scored two responses from my associate. First, a chuckle when Elliot gets a dosing of soot from a chimney. Second, a genuine chortle when an EMT dropped a stretcher. That part was my favorite too. Almost Two hours, two laughs. I refuse to believe this is the best Disney can offer. Admittedly, my second did applaud at the close, but this reaction was not half as enthusiastic as when his dad bought him a Slurpee.
Now hopefully I can take over explain what went wrong. First, the titular dragon. It is a dog. Elliot the big green dog. Elliot chases his tale. Elliot sneezes on people. Elliot is a dog. Whyyyyyyyyyyy? This is one of the most pathetic attempts at satisfying the boundless imaginations of children I have ever seen. Even the flying shots are derivative, all rendered in CG that just screams "I was meant to be seen in 3D." Well I'm cheap. All the other characters were equally tedious. Any idiosyncrasy or characteristic would have been appreciated. You can learn all there is to know about these personalities in 15 seconds. For the remainder of the movie, they will never surprise you, or charm you, or do anything worthy or remembrance. Part of the reason I attended Pete's Dragon was to gather data on the condition of Redford's career. I dread saying this, but this another performance suggesting he is washed up. Then again, in the role, Redford might never have stood a chance. Watching him mug like he was witnessing the second coming because a dragon turned a lighter shade of green was embarrassing. Another sad waste of talent was the cinematographer. The forest itself was the most magnetic character in the film. The natural beauty set a tone, only to be beaten down by the ham-fisted elements. So yes, I guess there was some wonder. Not enough to be redeemable. Pete's Dragon is a soulless morality tale on the importance of the nuclear family. Its grand aspiration was being inoffensive enough so you could bring your children. Disney can do better and we should watch better.
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