Written By Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
Pete's Dragon continues Disney's live action remake era. This film is much smaller in scale than say "The Jungle Book" and feels more like a low budget kids film revolving around a small town with some big secrets in the form of Pete and his dragon Elliot. After Pete becomes the sole survivor of a family car crash he runs into the woods only to find Elliot a giant green furry dragon. Instead of eating Pete like a mean old dragon might, Elliot befriends him and lives six peaceful years together. That is until some loggers over step their boundaries, cutting deep into the forest and discover Pete and Elliot breaking their cover and more importantly separating themselves from one another.
I had an OK time watch this film. It was most definitely a kids movie. It didn't have the same magic as the more fantastical "The BFG" or the heart of Disney's animated efforts but it's a harmless one that isn't a total waste of time. It had mostly kids and Elliot at the centre of the story. The adults save for Robert Redford's character were all kind of awkward "adults in a kids movie" they don't really get the kids at first and have to be convinced that Elliot is real and when they do, the over zealous loggers who are also avid hunters do what jerk hunters do best, gather up arms to take down the beast and claim it for their own. It's really lame if I'm being honest and Karl Urban as the douchebag hunter does the film no favors. I have a thing for hunters in general and this level of macho man narcissism rubs me the wrong way.
The kids in the film were great, their acting was top notch and the cinematography was very naturalistic in tone but almost goes too far with lots of panning shots at the sun to have lens flares pop up during golden hour for that kind of "beauty shot". The animation on Elliot was quite good, certainly better I think than the Jungle Book, which I was not particularly impressed by.
The story doesn't really break any new ground and it has been done better with films like How To Train Your Dragon and The Iron Giant. It is kind of harmless entertainment with not a whole lot of stakes or heart until the end and even then you don't really care enough to feel for the characters in danger. If you are interested in seeing it by all means, those on the fence should maybe hold off until it hits VOD or on a cheap day if your theatre has one.