Pete's Dragon movie poster
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Pete's Dragon
Pete's Dragon movie poster

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

A kid’s movie without fun factor, Disney’s Pete’s Dragon is evidence that even if you get all the technical elements right doesn’t mean you’ll make a good movie. A remake of that 1977 half-animated movie you probably have fond memories of even if you don’t remember any specifics, this new Pete’s Dragon presents an entirely new plot and tone, discarding humor and fun in the process.

Directed by David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), Pete’s Dragon stars Oakes Fegley as Pete and a bunch of bigger names in supporting roles, most notably Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban and Wes Bentley. The plot involves a feral child who is befriended by a friendly dog-like dragon and grows up in the forest, undisturbed until a park ranger (Howard) and a logger (Urban) stumble across him.

The humans react to Elliot in the way you’d expect them to, and the way they have in other similar movies in the past (they’re scared, then they try to capture the creature, and then they learn they were wrong). In short, the movie’s plot is oddly generic. Even the characters are unremarkable, with everyone doing exactly what you’d expect of them.

Of course, Pete’s Dragon is a kid’s movie, and kids don’t know any better. Too bad the movie just isn’t much fun. Lowery may establish a subdued sense of awe here and there, but for the most part the movie is humorless and lacks entertainment value. The movie isn’t boring, but kids will be bored. Elliot the dragon is likable, but hardly enjoyable in the way he was in the original.

Pete’s Dragon looks great and features a strong cast, but those elements alone do not a good movie make. The filmmakers clearly forgot they were making a kid’s movie, and the results indicate as much.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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