Monday, 29 August 2016

Pete's Dragon

The adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon. 

Pete's Dragon is based on the 1997 live-action animated Disney film. It was a fun idea but one that  wasn't properly fleshed out. This movie is pretty good, maybe not as good as I wanted it to be, but still, I did like it. There's a good balance between spectacle and sentiment. 

All the performances root the fantasy, especially Robert Redford who gives a surprisingly affecting turn as an old-timer who saw the dragon years ago, even though nobody believed him. Moreover, all the cast is attuned to the film needs. 

This film is part E.T, part Jungle Book. It's sweet, soulful and almost Spielberg-ish. Director Lowery doesn't shy from the horror, for instance, the opening scene. It is dark. And it tells you immediately what this child is made of. Pete's Dragon is a quality family film that rewards young people's imaginations and reminds us of a time when the term "Disney movie" meant something: namely wholesome entertainment and awe. However, this movie lacks the punch of Disney's best classics and bigger franchises, it doesn't do anything new. Though, the routine feels fresh again.  

Plus, the town doesn't seem fantastical, but it does feel isolated from society, a place that is as unsee and out of time as the creature living in its miles of surrounding forest. Finally, the filmmakers have studied what endears humans to their pets and amplified those qualities into the realm of fantasy. Here Elliot doesn't just look beleviable but he sounds it as well, - much as an enormous dog - with every breath and sigh adding credibility to a creature we desperately want to be real. 

Overall, this version has a lot more fire in its belly than the original, but is not quite rich enough to sit alongside the famous Disney Classics make-overs we had in the most recent years.

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