Movie Review: Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Among all the Disney live action adaptations, I was the most nervous about this one, as I grew up loving the 1977 film. For some reason, my mother had managed to record it on a VHS tape for me when I was younger, and I loved the film, from the cartoon Elliot, to the songs that were sung in the film. However, after watching the live action version of “Cinderella”, I decided to push all my anxieties away and finally watch the film.

Generally speaking, it was just alright. There were some things in it that I thought made it an interesting take on the story, but instead of being like “The Jungle Book”, which had new story elements which gave it an interesting twist, it remained pretty safe.

The CGI on Elliot was good though, and surprisingly enough, I wasn’t as adamant about him being a furry dog-like dragon, because just as the original Elliot did, he basically won my heart. (He really did move around like a dog, and he smelled stuff like a dog, too.)

Oakes Fegley, the little boy who played Pete, was good, but I already knew that based on his appearance in “Person of Interest”. And his interactions with Elliot is what makes this movie so magical, but I did feel that we needed a little bit more of them together (or maybe just more Elliot).

I liked the addition of Bryce Dallas Howard’s Grace, but I really didn’t care much for the other characters, because I didn’t feel any emotional connection to them, and because I felt that their characters weren’t fully developed enough for me to have a strong opinion about them. Not like in the original film, in which I really didn’t like that hillbilly family that Pete was supposed to be living with, or those magicians who wanted to use Elliot’s parts and stuff for remedies; and I absolutely adored Nora and her father, Lampie.

Also, the villains in the original one, were ones that were easier to have an opinion on that Karl Urban’s Gavin.

This film is pretty safe, and enjoyable, and does give you the feels at the right moments, but it didn’t really have a lot of high stakes involved, as it was pretty predictable.

In the end, this movie is safe and enjoyable, something that I would watch on tv when it comes on, but for me, unlike “Cinderella”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “The Jungle Book”, this is one of those films in which I would end up watching the original film instead, because of the special memories that that the original film has in my heart. (Actually, same goes as well for me with “Alice in Wonderland”, I preferred the animated film over the live action version, although I did appreciate what they tried to do there as well.)

Favorite Moment/s:

  • That sequence with Elliot and Pete playing with each other at the beginning of the film.

Disney Live-Action Adaptation Ranking (so far)

  1. Cinderella
  2. The Jungle Book (slight edge to this film over Beauty and the Beast because of the breakthroughs and the technology used here.)
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. Pete’s Dragon
  5. Alice in Wonderland

(I will probably NEVER watch the Alice in Wonderland sequel.)

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