Tony's Take

PETE’S DRAGON review

Pete's Dragon posterSome Secrets are Too Big to Keep

In a small mill town in the Pacific Northwest, there are forests as far as the eye can see.  “Pete’s Dragon” opens with tragedy, as a young child becomes an orphan and is lost in the woods, only to be saved by a green big dragon.  Fast-forward six years.  Pete has been living out in the forest with Elliot, his big green dragon.  One day, Pete is spotted by a young girl and is hurt and taken to the hospital by a park ranger and her husband.  Wondering where Pete has disappeared to, Elliot is too spotted by a group of mill workers, only to be hunted.  As Pete recovers, he only wants to escape back to the forest and go home to see Elliot.  Only when he gets there, he is faced with a harsh possibility of losing everything he loves.  The rest of the film follows Pete and Elliot’s adventure and their quest for freedom.

Bryce Dallas Howard plays a park ranger named Grace.  Robert Redford plays her father, Meacham, and is the only other person to have ever seen the green dragon from the North.  Oakes Fegley plays Pete, the young boy who is raised by Elliot.  Oona Laurence plays Grace and Jack’s daughter, Natalie.  Wes Bentley plays Grace’s fiancée, Jack.  Karl Urban plays Jack’s brother, Gavin.  Isiah Whitlock Jr. plays the town’s sheriff, Sheriff Gene Dentler.  Marcus Henderson, Aaron Jackson, and Phil Grieves play mill workers named Woodrow, Abner, and Bobby.  John Kassir voices Elliot, the mysterious green dragon.

The magic of “Pete’s Dragon” began-back in 1977, but the re-imagining is full of heart, laughs, and wonder and is truly fun for the whole family!  As expected from Disney, the film is a magical thrill ride that is only furthered-along by its roller coaster of emotion.  In a film such as this, the actors have to perform mostly-by imaging the final product, and here Howard, Fegley, and Laurence do a tremendous job and don’t miss a beat (it is curious though as to why Howard is acting-opposite CGI creatures once again).  Another thing I loved about “Pete’s Dragon” is how it so nonchalantly uses its setting.  While not throwing various references and dialog in your face, the film takes place in the 1980’s; which may missed by some viewers because of its subtlety.  The film has a tragic but necessary opening, but then somewhat drags-along until Pete leaves the woods.  After that, the film flows and will keep you guessing as to what will happen next.  Emotion isn’t only in the characters on-screen, but some of the film’s events will have you feeling emotions as well; a credit to the people behind “Pete’s Dragon”.  Also a Disney staple at this point, the film’s CGI is beautiful; whether it be the scenery or the intricate details of Elliot, it all serves as wonder to the viewer.  “Pete’s Dragon” has a run time of 102 minutes and it only slightly drags-on as we await for the film’s story to unfold. The film is very much for children, but the filmmakers add just enough humor and substance to make “Pete’s Dragon” not only fun, but fun for the entire family!

“Pete’s Dragon” is the story of an orphan boy who is raised by a magical dragon in the Pacific Northwest.  The film features plenty of wonder, magic, and fun for the whole family!  If you are bringing the family to the movies this weekend, then take them to see “Pete’s Dragon”!! 

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PETE’S DRAGON is rated PG for action, peril and brief language, in theaters AUGUST 12TH!

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