review – pete’s dragon

Pete’s Dragon is a delightful remake of the classic 1977 animated musical film about the adventures of a young boy named Pete and a dragon that befriends him after a terrible accident. The film was directed by David Lowery, based on a script penned by Lowery and co-writer Tony Halbrooks. With a budget of 65 million, Pete’s Dragon is arguably under-performing at the box-office. But, given the youthful content, it seems likely the film will find some legs with parents looking for baby sitting material in the form of future home video / on-demand content.  Bojan Bazelli’s rich cinematography blends seamlessly with the WETA crafted digital work, making for a unusually immersive experience, considering the genre. Daniel Hart’s score provides a great texture, adding just the right nudge to really help drive the emotional cues.

Despite the stark opening sequence, a ten-year old Pete finds himself in the company of a caring, if not skeptical forest ranger named Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard). After a bit of convincing, Pete reveals how he managed to survive deep in the forest with his friend who also happens to be a giant dragon. Unfortunately, Grace’s choice of life partner turns out to be quite a bit less enchanted by the dragon, instead choosing to hunt the creature. What follows is a very Disney-esque story, but Disney’s been doing these kinds of tales for as long as they have for a reason – because they work! The content is great family fare and despite the relatively low box-office numbers, the film is most definitely worth a see, especially on the big screen, where one can truly appreciate the delicacy of the visual design.