4 August 2016

Film Review - Pete's Dragon (2016)

Whether it’s relaunching the Star Wars franchise, expanding the incredibly popular Marvel Cinematic Universe, or remaking some of their classics, Disney can’t seem to put a foot wrong. This remake of the 1977 film Pete’s Dragon is utterly charming.

The film tells the story of Pete, an orphan raised by a dragon in the woods. Indeed the title of the film is misleading, it should really be called Dragon’s Pete. Bryce Dallas Howard plays a forest ranger who discovers this feral child and takes her into her home, the dragon sets out to find his friend and drama ensues.

The film is entirely predictable, from its story, to its themes, to the emotional beats, however, it is so delightfully heart warming that none of this matters. From the, slightly overly, emotional acting, to the sweeping score, to the stunning location photography the film is a treat. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but does achieve what it sets out to do – move.

The dragon is a well designed and realised CGI creation. More of a flying dog than lizard, it is instantly likeable and it’s hard to leave the film without wanting one of your own. Oakes Fegley, who plays Pete, does a wonderful job of bringing their friendship to life. How this boy, who must have spent months talking to a tennis ball, pulls this off is anyone’s guess.

Pete’s Dragon is an effective remake. While entirely unoriginal, it successful tugs on the heart strings and is a great Sunday afternoon family film.

★★★★| Harry Davenport

Fantasy, Adventure, Family | USA, 2016 | PG |Walt Disney Studios | 12th August 2016 (UK) | Dir.David Lowery | Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley, Oona Laurence

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