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If “The Jungle Book” is aimed squarely at the little ones, and “The Legend of Tarzan” is meant for grown-ups, then “Pete’s Dragon” splits the difference as a contemplative and beautiful family movie.Click here to read the full review
What Works? The unhurried pacing of the story is refreshing, rewarding patience even as the story goes to familiar places, while the integration of the CGI Elliot with the human actors is a special effects triumph. Far from mere technical wizardry, the effective melding of human actors with the dragon generates real pathos, especially during a moving finale. What Doesn't? Not all the technology that went into Pete's Dragon is a marvel. Skip the 3D presentation, which makes the early part of the story, set in a dimly lit forest, much too dark. The story may be formulaic, but it's gentle and offers a generous emotional payoff.Click here to read the full review
The rebooted, live-action rendition of Pete's Dragon is really nothing new. And it's not just because it's a modern re-envisioning of a 1977 Disney cartoon. It's because we've seen the basic building blocks of this tale mixed and stirred together again and again at the moviehouse: the troubled kid, the misunderstood otherworldly companion, the longing for unconditional love and family, the selfish outside threat, the need for bravery and justice. As I was watching Pete's story unfold, it sorta reminded me of Brad Bird's The Iron Giant. Others have made comparisons to Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are. All different stories, but all very much alike. Those stories are all about us, the longings in them are our longings, and we love these tales. That's why they work. That's why Pete's Dragon works. Really, really well. If you're a parent pausing over concerns about dragons, worry not. Pete's winged, galumphy bud Elliot is no scary, scaly fire-breather. He's more like a cuddly monster in green fur—a lovable, golden retriever puppy-like pal … that's as big as a bus. And, frankly, good-ol' huffing, snuffing, wing-flapping and face-planting Elliot is a pretty good metaphorical representation of this whole film. It's got some mildly perilous moments of gun-waving and car-chasing that may require some arm-around-the-shoulder comfort for the littlest ones. But the movie's king-sized heart is what ultimately gets you … and carries you away in a pair of big green fuzzy paws.Click here to read the full review
This well-crafted movie is an entertaining ride that offers positive role models (including a strong female lead), a not entirely “bad” guy and a subtle message about preserving the environment. Family ties are on full display here, with almost all of the primary supporting characters being related. Robert Redford is especially memorable playing Grace’s father, a grizzled but kind and loving woodcarver who believes Pete’s story. Elliot is a wonderfully rendered CGI character who manages to inspire awe without being frightening, easily conveys emotion and comes across as a playful, dog-like chum.Click here to read the full review
“Pete’s Dragon” will inspire a sense of awe in your family. It is a wonderful movie experience. The live action is seamlessly mixed with CGI, and it’s so realistic that anyone might think a dragon named Elliot could fly around somewhere in the woods. The movie is today’s “E.T.” It has similarities to that film, including a young boy, Pete (Oakes Fegley), who finds an extraordinary friend in Elliot, the dragon. It also includes a police chase and others who are interested in capturing Elliot for all the wrong reasons. Pete and his friend Natalie (Oona Laurence) and a woman named Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) try to set Elliot free. The movie is one of those rare gems that features solid acting, a great story, marvelous special effects, and good music, to boot. One scene features young Pete running over the side of the cliff and then Elliot rises up and flies, with Pete riding him and holding onto his back. One little girl, who was in the theater with her mother, kept saying, “Elliot! Elliot!” every time the dragon appeared on screen. That kind of response is what you would call movie magic. We are pleased to award the film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for all ages, but parents should read our content listing to make their own informed choices. Enter a wonderful world where dragons fly, and a boy is a dragon’s best friend.Click here to read the full review
The classic boy-and-his-dog story assumes outsized proportions in "Pete's Dragon" (Disney), a warmhearted fantasy adventure suitable for teens and their elders. This "reimagining" of the 1977 Disney musical bears little resemblance to its predecessor, which featured a singing troika of Helen Reddy, Red Buttons and Shelley Winters. This go-round, song and dance have been jettisoned, and hokeyness gives way to thrilling action and tear-jerking moments. Star power includes Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Dr. McCoy of the current "Star Trek" franchise, Karl Urban. The eponymous creature, moreover, is no longer a mere cartoon but a 3-D computer-generated Brobdingnagian wonder, covered in green fur and possessing the habits and charm of a basset hound.Click here to read the full review