A fun re-invention of the original that creates a fun adventure for all ages.
“Pete’s Dragon” is a remake of the 1977 film that certainly shows ambition in trying to take the story to expanded levels. The film stars; Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Robert Redford, Oona Laurence, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley and is directed by David Lowery. The story follows an orphaned boy who is discovered in the woods, who just so happens to have a best friend, who is a lovable dragon.
Growing up in the 80’s I remember “Pete’s Dragon” it was a fun film as a kid but nothing that stuck out to me. I was curious of this remake when it came out knowing what the advancements in technology could do to this story. The result was a success as this film turned out to be a fun adventure for all ages that clearly used the source material to spawn a new exploration of the story, and not a simple copy of it.
The cast all delivered some solid performances but nothing exceptional. Robert Redford was great in his minimal screen-time, but all the adult actors simply delivered what this story needed to carry it along. It was the the young actors of Oona Laurence and Oakes Fegley that were the true stars of this film, as they should have been. Performances from child actors in films like these are make or break in enabling all audiences to enjoy it, and they were both excellent.
This was the first performance I have seen from Oakes Fegley and he was charismatic and highly effective in his performance, showing a range of emotions that never felt overly forced. Oona Laurence was excellent once again and she is continuing to solidify herself as a very capable young actress and no doubt has a bright career ahead of her.
The special-effects were very well done and overall this was a very beautifully crafted film. The creation of a fun loving dragon named Pete was perfect for the tone of the film, he was basically a big green furry dog with wings and his look was stunning in detail. The facial expressions brought him to life and enable him to develop a strong chemistry with Pete.
The story was entertaining enough to pass the time and kids will certainly love this movie. As an adult is was an easy film to sit through, captured my attention, and held it. The third-act does draw things out a little too long but it wasn’t a surprise, as films like this often do that. The story could have ended a couple times but it kept extending which did draw it out a little when it closed. Overall though, this was a fun film to watch and something the family could gather around and enjoy together.
Time: 103 min
MPAA Rating: PG (For action, peril and brief language)