According to IMDb, the “Pete’s Dragon” remake opened in theaters on Aug. 12, 2016. The new family fantasy film was directed by David Lowery. The movie sits at a PG rating due to Elliot, the dragon, breathing fire once or twice during the movie’s running time of 1 hour and 42 minutes. The movie does not follow the original plotline closely.
The new movie, adapted from the 1977 original movie, which was written by Malcolm Marmorstein and directed by Don Chaffey, incorporates both live action and animated filmography. The first movie, unlike its counterpart, was a musical featuring songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn.
Unlike The New York Times recent review written by Glenn Kenny on August 11, of the original movie, where he stated that it was “fair-to-middling,” many other reviews of the late ’70s movie would disagree.
Including Reviews From:
The New York Times: “the most energetic and enjoyable Disney movie in a long while.”
Variety: “enchanting and humane, a triumph.”
Jessica Mould: “This is a wonderful classic movie you can watch with your children. The songs are fun and lighthearted.”
While it is evident that most really liked “Pete’s Dragon,” others had mixed feelings, due to the high expectations of the film. The original movie starred the iconic medley of Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Helen Reddy, Charles Tyner, and Shelley Winters.
Such Reviews that Stated:
Time Out: “technically unconvincing and emotionally unpalatable.”
Though the new “Pete’s Dragon” is a remake of the 1977 original movie, it does not follow the plotline much at all. The 2016 version does, however, stick with the plotline of boy meets dragon, and then boy and dragon become fast friends.
Most children have invisible friends, but none as grand as Elliot. Children learn through their invisible friends how to cope with the world around them. Letting go of their coping mechanism can prove to be challenging for children like Pete, who have to learn to let go of them. For Pete, it is his dragon, and at some point, in order to have constructive relationships with others around him, he must let his friend go.
The 1977 version of the movie had big dance numbers and comedy set pieces to break up the delicate nature of the film’s central message. Whereas, the reboot is said to be a bit darker without the interruptions of the light-hearted dances and the fact that it is not a musical. It also still holds fast to the fact that Elliot can become invisible whenever he feels threatened or just does not want to show himself.
Unlike the original movie plotline, where an orphaned boy escaped to Passamaquoddy, Maine from his abusive parents with his friend Elliot the dragon. The rebooted film shows that Pete lost his parents to a car accident in the deep Pacific Northwest. The new movie, however, maintained the bond of friendship between them.
The completely modernized movie used the latest in computer-generated imagery, overseen by visual effects supervisor Eric Saindon of Weta Digital. Saindon also did the honors for the “The Lord of Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit.” The digitally created 24-foot dragon, Elliot, was meticulously created with an astonishing 15 million hairs on his body. The result is said to be verisimilar, especially in 3D, and allows the dragon to blend in well with the realism of the film.
By Tracy Blake
Edited by Jeanette Smith
The Los Angeles Times: Review ‘Pete’s Dragon’ is old-school Disney in the best way possible
A.V. CLUB: Pete’s Dragon breathes poetic life into a forgotten Disney dud
The New York Times: Review: In ‘Pete’s Dragon,’ a Magical Bond in Peril Again
IMDb: Pete’s Dragon 1977
IMDb: Pete’s Dragon 2016
2paragraphs: Pete’s Dragon — 5 Reviews of 1977 Children’s Classic
Image Courtesy of Mandy Jansen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License