Disney’s age of remakes continues strongly as they bring more cartoons to life. Their latest product is Pete’s Dragon, a whimsical, musical that many of us remember dancing to as kids. So naturally they want to try and recreate the magic with a remake. Robbie K here with another review on the latest movie to grace the silver screen, so let’s get started.
- Elliot was animated fantastically
- Decent story with deep emotions
- Good Acting
As I mentioned, Elliot was a cartoon dragon who hummed and sang the movie away in a colorful display. So to see that two-dimensional dragon brought to life in three-dimensional computer animation was certainly awesome. Elliot’s transformation was beautifully done and incredibly detailed from the slobber of his mouth to the green mass of his fur. The dragon’s loveable mug, deep caring eyes, and magnificent persona were all captured in his design and brought with it a wave of nostalgia (minus the absence of the purple hair and tuft). In terms of his animation, again the CGI team at Disney brings top-notch work from majestic flight to blending into the background of the forest. Some people were definitely paying attention in anatomy-physiology class.
Outside of the animation, the story is surprisingly deeper than initially expected. If you remember the first movie, it was film set on whimsical music and a cute fun atmosphere. Not the case for this film. Instead of singing and dancing, this rendition chose to take a deeper journey that explored concepts like loyalty, family, and love. Despite their adventures among the forest and animated deer, Pete and Elliot’s relationship felt more like guardian and pet, rather than best pals to pull pranks with. Once the other humans joined up with him, the emotional kick only hit harder, building up to “heated” moments that tugged at your heartstrings. While I didn’t shed a tear, I can’t deny that at times I felt something brewing in my chest.
And helping bring that story to life is a well selected cast who brought their A game to the table. Bryce Dallas Howard played the overbearing, wannabe parent well, especially the overly doting atmosphere. Robert Redford, rocked as the wise man of the town, bringing comedic relief to the mix and fun grandpa atmosphere. But the real star of the show for me was Oakes Fegleyy, who played the wild Pete exactly as I expected him to be portrayed with a wild sense of curiosity matched only by his innocence and loyalty. Plus the kid knew how to act with an imaginary creature.
- Not as much fun
- Diluted antagonist
- A bit cliché at times
Okay the movie was still fun in its own manner, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did the original. I missed the colors, music, and energy of the first film that held immense energy that used to have me singing and laughing for days. This movie’s more serious nature, darker color scheme, and powerful symphony music hold little of that energy. Only a few playful moments came close to that classic fun, primarily when Elliot was more like an adorable pet fetching sticks.
Another thing that I didn’t enjoy as much was the supposed “bad” guy of the film known as Gavin, played by Karl Urban. Urban did a fine job with his character, but the directing team did not design a villain as rotten as the original’s Dr. Terminus. Gavin was a single-minded boob, who had little character development, a rather lame goal, and a surprisingly effective arsenal. He brought little threat to the movie, and most of the “exciting” conflicts were actually pretty low key that robbed the film of excitement.
Finally the overly cliché moments of the movie are a bit cheesy and a bit lacking in the fulfilling department. Much of the “surprises” are not really that surprising, but instead go down the expected avenue of Disney plots. Some times these moments are actually nicely done, well designed and well orchestrated to fill you with a warm feeling. Other times these moments are very shallow and overly cheesy, like something out of an episode of Full House. However, this is a very minor weakness for me and at least brings good lessons and character development with them.
Pete’s Dragon is certainly another display of Disney’s ability to modernize their movies. Insane animation, a well-constructed cast, and an emotional story are certainly the selling points of this Disney movie. I can definitely appreciate the direction they took this in, but it still wasn’t as much fun or filled with Disney magic as the original 1977 film. Still, the young and young at heart will have fun with this movie and most likely enjoy the theatrics. I think I have told you the recommended audience to see it in the theaters, but this reviewer would state this one can wait for the RedBox.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0