I grew up loving that vivid, magical and somewhat crazy 1977 Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, so when I heard they were re-releasing the movie I just rolled my eyes. I mean good old zany cartoon Elliot was awesome. I protested (in my own head) it should not be done, a reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, but why?
Last night I found out why. Though I came to the theater with a bit of a chip on my shoulder and stressed from my day, I was almost immediately swept away in this very reimagined tale. This 2016 Disney version of Pete’s Dragon is another Disney success. It had me laughing, crying (yes, tears running down my cheeks) and captivated.
For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father (and Grace’s Fiance) Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.
Disney, in my humble opinion, has done it again. Pete’s Dragon 2016 is a delight to the imagination, wholesome entertainment that reinforces family and American values. As a mom, I keep a close eye out on what my children watch and the sub stories that many don’t normally pay attention to. I found it refreshing to see that Grace had her own home to return to at night since her and Jack are only engaged. It maybe a bit of old fashion thinking on my part, but it was a comfortable throwback to dependable family values we were used to seeing. Grace’s love for the forest brings a whole different “green” aspect to the film bringing light to the endangered species that are suffering their habitats being destroyed. Another subtext to the movie that I found wonderful.
Pete’s Dragon (2016) brings to the screen another future family favorite. I had an 8 year old, 9 year old and a 13 year old with me last night and barely heard a word out of them that wasn’t a gasp of surprise, “Awe, poor Elliott” or “Elliott is so cute”. They didn’t wiggle, whine, ask for snacks or try to leave for a potty break, this is a big deal. The relationship between Pete and Elliott (who looks a lot like Falkor from the “The Neverending Story”) is as heart warming as the original. Pete is desperate for love and family as in the original, even if the plot is completely different. They play together, dream together and provide just what the other needs without any actual conversation…wouldn’t that be nice. Directory David Lowery – takes you on a lighthearted playful 3D ride above the clouds, through the forest and directly into your heart. It may not be as whimsical, bright and colorful as the original, but this heart-warming reimagined tale will give you the big warm GREEN fuzzies all over.