Verdict: Moist eyes, warm fuzzy feeling guaranteed.
Disney is hell-bent on serving one winner after another this year. There was Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Finding Dory, The BFG, Captain America: Civil War and now, Pete’s Dragon. Rest assured, you have another treat waiting for you at the movies with this fantasy adventure.
What makes Pete’s Dragon a highly-recommended film, you ask? It makes you want to believe in all things nice with a big fat smile on your face. This one might rely on tried and tested Disney tropes but let that not disappoint you because David Lowery has taken all the pains to ensure novelty while remaking the 1977 musical.
This is the story of Pete (Oakes Fegley). Five-year-old Pete is left distraught while in a car accident that claims the lives of his parents but not before his mother assures him that he is the “bravest” boy she has ever met. Truer words were never spoken before as the lone survivor when found by a dragon (yup! A real, big, green, beautiful one) sheepishly asks, "Are you gonna eat me?". Dear dragon does better than that; he begins with a warm hug and very literally takes Pete under his wings. Pete names the dragon "Elliott" after a puppy from his favorite book.
It is six years in the woods before Pete and humans discover each other again.
It needs no saying that as Pete tries to fit among humans, he finds himself torn between the new found love and the one he leaves behind with Elliott. Elliott, on the other hand, cannot help but feel betrayed and at the same time is being hunted down by the very lumberjack family he lost Pete to. C’mon, it isn’t every day that you spot a dragon so far away from China!
This story that spells out so beautifully the relationship between a boy and his (for the lack of a better word) pet has been told in various forms before but it is the very innocence of Pete and Elliott that will make you want to run to the screen and hug it.
The movie on screen looks like a painting in motion. Whether the gorgeous opening scene, the woods, the flights Pete and Elliott take and more, every scene is fluid and pleasing to the eye.
While the story barely shifts focus from Pete and his dragon, you must spare a thought for the supporting cast who ably carry the film. Once M. Night Shyamalan’s discovery Bryce Dallas Howard as the forest ranger Grace Meacham, Wes Bentley (yes, you saw him in American Horror Story, we know) as Jack, Oona Laurence as Natalie and Karl Urban as Gavin deliver sincere performances.
No, we haven’t forgotten the very awesome Robert Redford who is very obviously again being very awesome in Pete’s Dragon as Grace’s father, Mr. Meacham, the only one in the town before Pete who encountered a live dragon and hence, is a believer. You will find yourself cheering for Mr. Meacham and Elliott, as he takes the wheel of a truck in a final chase scene.
Then again, Pete’s Dragon is not so much about the performances as it is about the visual treat and the heart-warming story. There are parallels you might want to draw with The Jungle Book or even E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial but that will not take away any of the fun the movie promises.
Absolutely, go and enjoy the film. It will make you wish you had an Elliott all for yourself.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Owned a pet? Own one? Plan to own one? This one’s tailor-made for you. Head solo or with the family (the latter is recommended), you are going to be watching a memorable flick. You have our word.