Following the animated musical version in 1977, the list of Disney remakes continues with Pete’s Dragon. Free from the cheery songs that dominated the animated film, this years remake still manages to retain some of the heart of the original. Originally greenlit in 2013, the film, directed by David Lowery, tells the story of Pete, a young boy who ended up in the forest after a tragic car accident. Pete, initially walking lost through the forest, is found by a large green dragon, who he names Elliott. They live and play together in the forest, and Elliott keeps Pete safe from the dangers that lie in the forest.
In the local town, Robert Redford plays Mr Meacham, a retired man who loves telling the story of the one time he saw a dragon. Meacham’s daughter, Grace, is played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is very sceptical. After all, as park warden, she walks through the forest every day and has never seen the dragon. Later, as the reality of Pete’s situation and the prospect of something supernatural occurring in the forest becomes abundantly clear, all of the town’s residents are forced to question their own beliefs.
Oakes Fegley puts in a star performance as Pete, and his interactions with the CGI dragon seem entirely genuine and mesmerising. Karl Urban plays the films antagonist, who is determined to use the dragon for his own financial gains, and this provides some humour as Pete and his friends help Elliott to escape. Bryce Howard compliments the performance of the lead kids as well, and steps out of the shadow of the Jurassic World franchise.
The film does start off slowly and seems to take slightly too long finding its footing, but when it does it moves along quickly through an engaging plot and doesn’t out stay its welcome with its short running time. This film will leave kids mesmerised, and there is enough for adults to enjoy in there as well.
David Lowery will be at the helm of another Disney remake, in the form of Peter Pan, and this film has shown that another classic animation is in safe hands. In a world where generally reboots and remakes are shunned and critically panned, it still seems that Disney are still capable of producing the goods, even when it is a much loved story.
Dir: David Lowery
Scr: David Lowery, Tony Halbrooks
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban
Prd: James Whitaker
DOP: Bojan Bazelli
Music: Daniel Hart
Run Time: 103 minutes
Pete’s Dragon is out in cinemas now.