Personally I think this remake is better than the original. It's not perfect, and I don't think I enjoyed it as much as the Jungle Book remake, but this was a good update to a movie, that I feel has gotten a bit dated.
The story itself isn't particularly original, it's the sort of E.T. or Iron Giant type of story. But they tell it really well, and it's a nice change of pace from the very complicated stories we've been getting lately. It's nice to have a more simple story for a change.
I was really impressed with the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, most of it doesn't really have much dialogue in it. It just kind of show's what daily life is like with Pete and Elliot. And it's all done visually, for the most part. I really liked that, and honestly think that's my favorite part of the movie.
This movie keeps up Disney's trend of fantastic special effects. Elliot the Dragon looked great. There wasn't one moment where I thought "That dragon's not really there." Every time Elliot was on screen it was just like when the animals in the Jungle Book movie were on screen, or when Rocket Raccoon was on screen in Guardians of the Galaxy, I believed he was real. I know a lot of people complained about Elliot's design in this movie, and honestly, I don't get it. Yes, it's not necessarily a "traditional" dragon design, he has fur instead of scales, but he still looks like a dragon, and they did a good job of making him look like an updated version of the Elliot from the original movie.
The acting is very good in this movie. There's not one actor I can name that I felt wasn't trying. Bryce Dallas Howard was especially great, as the park ranger who finds Pete in the forest. The child actors do a surprisingly good job as well. There's not one moment that felt like they were just reading lines, or weren't emoting enough. The boy playing Pete especially sells the performance of a kid who hasn't interacted with people for six years.
Some of the main problems of the movie come from the supporting characters. Outside of the main child characters, and Bryce Dallas Howard, most of the other characters are kind of one-note. The "villain" just kind of serves to be a villain, that doesn't really listen to reason. Bryce Dallas Howard's father just kind of serves to be the old supportive father figure. It's not as annoying as it might sound, but it just kind of feels like they could have done better with the characterizations. But I think the performances slightly make up for it.
The movie could also get a little too schmaltzy, specifically with the musical score in some scenes. I wouldn't say it's too much, but they definitely could have toned it down.
Overall I think this is another great kid's movie from Disney, and while I think the Jungle Book was better, this was still a nice movie to sit through, I'd give it an 8/10. I can't say how fans of the original are going to like it, seeing as how I'm not a fan of the original, but I would encourage them to give it a chance.