Pete’s Dragon is a Disney adventure film written and directed by David Lowery. It stars Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley, Robert Redford, and Karl Urban. The film follows Pete (Fegley), a young orphan boy who befriends a dragon, names him Elliot, and spends six years growing up with him in the forest. It’s the classic tale of a boy and his dragon. Now I must say that even though I feel like I should have grown up watching it, I never did watch the classic 1977 film of the same name. Now although I haven’t seen the original I doubt it would have made me like this film any less. Frankly, I don’t believe anything could make me love this movie any less because I flat out loved it.
When I walked out of the theater, I couldn’t shake the feeling this film gave me because I hadn’t felt it in a long time. The only way I could describe it would be as “Disney magic.” To get a little nostalgic on you, I remember very well when I was younger, the Disney films I would watch. I can remember the classics like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Alice in Wonderland. These days, the last time I watched a Disney movie, before I took reviewing into consideration, would be The Jungle Book (2016), Big Hero 6, and Inside Out. Now I absolutely love those films, but the point is that I have sort of fallen off the Disney train. Thankfully, Pete’s Dragon has reinvigorated my love for the company and if future films make me feel this way, I will be there day one for their next release. So, yes the movie made me feel all tingly, warm, and fuzzy inside, but how does it stand as an actual film?
I don’t know if it would reflect poorly on me as a critic if I said that there isn’t much too talk about when it comes to this movie, but I really think there isn’t that much to say. Having said that, everything in this movie is really good: nothing really stands out as being bad. Really, the most noteworthy thing about this movie is its characters and its story. The majority of the film explores the relationship of Pete and his dragon, Elliot, and the misadventures they go on. Just from that description alone, it already reminds me of the classic Disney heart and spirit from their earlier films and that’s something that comes up a lot when watching this movie. Pete’s Dragon has so much heart and good spiritedness all throughout it. It’s such a wholesome, pure experience that I would recommend this film to anyone of any age.
Now when I say that this film brings with it the great things about a classic Disney movie, it also brings the bad things with it. The most apparent thing overall would be its general sense of familiarity. Throughout the movie, I could note the many tropes and sequences that have played out very similarly in other Disney films: same characters, same story, and same results. And while I noticed these things, I still didn’t care because I was having so much fun while watching the movie.
Overall, I loved Pete’s Dragon. It’s a wholesome, fun, family movie, that most anyone can enjoy. I personally never grew up watching the classic movie, but I am very confident that I would have liked this film much better. Yes, it has a lot of clichés and tropes from other Disney movies but I was willing to look past all that to see just how fantastic of a movie this was.
4 out of 5
Check out Ethan’s video review of Pete’s Dragon below!