Film Review: Pete’s Dragon

petes dragonWe were lucky enough to go along to the gala screening of Disney’s latest live action movie Pete’s Dragon. This is a  film that had slipped a bit under my radar, i’m not entirely sure why, it just had. However, as soon as the film started and I began to get flashbacks to my childhood. The original film was exactly within the genre of films I used to watch over and over again; Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, that kind of thing where there was a mixture of songs, animation and ‘jokey’ acting. However, I think I had blocked it out of my mind because from what I recall (although I haven’t seen it for 30 odd years) there was an element of sadness and the underlying story was a little bit traumatic for me compared to the other movies.


dragon balloon

Awesome balloon dragon!

This years update of Pete’s Dragon sees a slightly different scenario where Pete loses his parents in a car crash and ends up living in the woods with Elliot the dragon. Until that is, they get discovered. The film features Bryce Dallas Howard who plays a superb surrogate mum figure and Robert Redford as her dad alongside Oakes Fegley who does a brilliant job playing Pete. The dragon is clearly animated but in a wonderful way which somehow manages to sit unobtrusively in the film and there were moments where the dragon reminded me of the one in my all time favourite kids movie, The Neverending Story.

There were many things which I loved about this film, not least that it reminded me of some of the best movies of my 1980’s childhood. They have captured the essence of what I imagined life to be like in America at that time, elements of what I remembered about the original film and weaved in a magical feeling of folklore and the preciousness of the wild. This isn’t a big hitting, all action movie, rather a gentle but epic roller coaster ride of emotions which I think is an antidote to many of today’s children’s movies which can feel over produced for thrills and laughs.

Have a look here:

I thought this was a lovely film which I’d very happily snuggle up with the husband and some popcorn and watch again. However, I have to say that the four year old found it a bit scary and the ‘sophisticated’ nine year old was a little bored by it. I think this is because he feeds himself an endless diet of ‘high reward’ action packed films. I must rectify this because this is the sort of movie which can make summer holiday memories. It is an engaging, thoughtful children’s film and I loved it. So I guess what i’m saying is, if you want to take the kids to a film and you’re a child of the 1980’s then pick this one as you’ll love it. I hope your children enjoy it too.

Bryce Dallas Howard

Bryce Dallas Howard introduces the film

Info and Synopsis


UK Release date: 12 August, 2016

Genre:  Live Action

Rating: TBD

Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford

Director: David Lowery

Based on a story by: Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field

Producer: Jim Whitaker

A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, “Pete’s Dragon” is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon. “Pete’s Dragon” stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”), Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). The film, which is directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”), is written by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field and produced by Jim Whitaker, p.g.a. (“The Finest Hours,” “Friday Night Lights”), with Barrie M. Osborne (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Great Gatsby”) serving as executive producer.

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” opens in UK cinemas on 12th August 2016.

1 Response

  1. Christina Bennett 1st August 2016 / 3:50 pm

    I was hoping that this film might have been good enough for my 3 year old, but if it’s a little scary for your 4 year old then maybe not. My little one is obsessed with anything dinosaur or dragon related (they are all dinosaurs in her eyes!!!!). She would have loved that balloon dragon!

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