Monday, July 24, 2017

Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Number Rolled: 29
Movie Name/Year: Pete’s Dragon (2016)
Tagline: Some secrets are too big to keep.
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Length: 103 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: Walt Disney Pictures
Producer: Adam Borba, Carthew Neal, Barrie M. Osborne, Jim Whitaker
Director: David Lowery
Writer: David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks, Malcolm Marmorstein, Seton I. Miller, S.S. Field
Actors: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Marcus Henderson, Aaron Jackson, Phil Grieve, Steve Barr, Keegan Carr Fransch, Jade Valour, Esmee Myers, Gareth Reeves, Levi Alexander, Jim McLarty, John Kassir
Stunt Doubles: Andrew Cottle, Siosa Fonua, Stephen Grey, Bronson Steel, Karl Van Moorsel

Blurb from Netflix: When a strange boy turns up claiming to live in the woods with a giant green dragon, forest ranger Grace and young Natalie go digging for the truth.

Selina’s Point of View:
No matter how hard I tried, I could not get the song “Puff, the Magic Dragon” out of my head while watching, or thinking of, Pete’s Dragon. In fact, at one point in the movie a little girl sings a dragon song and as she was singing I was still hearing Puff’s song in my head.

It was not the same song.

My brain does what it wants. I have no control over it.

None of that really has anything to do with how I felt about the film, but I believe it was worth mentioning.

I enjoyed Pete’s Dragon quite a bit. There were a lot of feels, even though the majority of the film was pretty typical.

Chances are, you’ve really seen this film before. Not in this incarnation, but films that are close enough for this one to feel comfortable and familiar. That doesn’t mean boring. It’s one of those recipe films that is still decent because of the way the story was handled.

If you’re looking for a film that’s groundbreaking and spectacular, or something to really blow your mind, this is not the movie for you. However, if you’re looking for a family film that you can watch with your kids without wanting to slam your head into a wall, look no further.

I mean, do you really want to watch Frozen for the ten billionth time? Take a break and show the kiddos something new that won’t ear worm you.

Cat’s Point of View:
This time last year, Pete’s Dragon made my #3 spot on the top 20 movies to look out for in August of 2016. I was skeptical, but hopeful, going into this re-envisioning of the classic Disney tale. The original 1977 version has always been very dear to my heart, so I’m afraid I have very little tolerance for screwing it up.

This certainly wasn’t an attempt to remake the original. The core plot elements about a boy and his green dragon are there – but the rest of the surrounding elements have changed. I don’t think it would have been nearly as successful if it had tried to be a complete remake. The changes to set it apart breathed new life into the story as if we got a peek through a window into a parallel world where this series of events happened instead of the other. Of course, the time periods were differently represented also. The original G-Rated movie represents a slice of Americana from those ‘golden years’ of yesterday, and the PG-Rated update is more in tune with the modern era…even if it is set in the 1970s and 1980s.

I read that the director, David Lowery (Deadroom, St. Nick, A Ghost Story), explained in an IGN article that he chose to change the dragon’s appearance to make Elliott furry instead of the typical scaly dragon makeup because he wanted to represent a huggable dragon. I’ll buy that – it was a rather inspired idea.

The casting was well done here, as well. I could relate to the characters and there was just the right balance in their dynamic.

They had the legendary Robert Redford (All is Lost, A Walk in the Woods, The Discovery) on board here. I absolutely adored him as Meacham. Not only that, I wanted to reach into the screen and snag up little Pete played by Oakes Fegley (Fort Bliss, Prism, Wonderstruck) and give him a hug.

Redford wasn’t the only name with Hollywood star-power, though. Bryce Dallas Howard (Lady in the Water, Hereafter, Gold) and Wes Bentley (Gone, After the Fall, Interstellar) had much to offer this feature. Then there’s Karl Urban (REDD, Priest, The Loft). Urban is ‘the man’ – and in this movie, he was the man I wanted to punch.

This wasn’t my first time watching this new version and it likely won’t be my last because my daughter likes it too. This version of Elliott reminds her of Sully from Monster’s Inc. (2001). All in all, this is a great family movie about an incredible friendship; it had a good message, and a lot of heart.

Speech Available: English, Spanish
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 87%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 73%
Metascore - 71/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.8/10
IMDB Score – 6.8/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 4.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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