I vividly remember the 1977 version of Pete’s Dragon. It’s one of my favorite classic animated Disney movies. The combination of animation with live actors and music is something that defines Disney animation in my childhood. The genre that includes Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the like are all near and dear to my heart, but Pete’s Dragon the most so. “Candle on the Water” is a song that has stuck with me since a very young age. Whenever you see that a favorite—a classic—is going to be redone, reimagined, or reinvented, you get a little nostalgic for the original and hope that the new one does the original justice while being a fantastic new story that can stand on its own. The new live-action version of Pete’s Dragon does just that. This visually stunning reimagined story by David Lowery will remind you what it’s like to see through the eyes of a child.
As with all Disney movies, I’ve fallen in love. The messages in the story are fantastic and relevant to any child and parent. The fact that just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there is a message we can and should all relate to. No one should live there life believing only what they see right in front of their eyes.
Bring the tissues because you’ll need them, even if you aren’t a parent. Disney does what Disney is known for in that they always address the loss of a parent. From the opening scene you’ll go through every emotion you can imagine—happiness, sadness, anger, empathy—the list goes on, but you’ll walk out of the theatre being closer to your childhood self and wanting to hug your children or the ones you hold dearest. Many moments of the film were reminiscent of older Disney live-action films such as Escape from Witch Mountain.
The relationship between Pete and Elliot is so special. I loved the pup like characteristics of Elliot and certainly didn’t ignore the fact that they were intentional based on the integral role Lowery’s book Elliot Gets Lost plays in the film. Oakes Fegley brings it as a child actor in this breakout role. He’s ridiculously talented and adorable. Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace, Oona Laurence as Natalie, Wes Bentley as Jack are all incredible, and the interaction they have between one another as a family are as real as any family could be. The tenderness between them all on set are a testament to the compassion this story brings to screen. You won’t want to miss the family film opening August 12.
A Moms’s Review Age Recommendation for Pete’s Dragon
As a parent, I recommend not having really young kids see it unless you’ve seen it and know what your kids can handle. There are definitely some very intense scenes and younger, more sensitive kids (or older sensitive kids) may struggle with some of those scenes. My youngest are turning 9 this month and I think there are a couple of scenes they will barely be able to handle, and they aren’t very sensitive kids over all when it comes to movies. They like action, but the subject matter is a bit intense in a way that is different than in an action movie per se. That said, you can expect a happy ending and resolution per usual Disney movie style.
PETE’S DRAGON flies into theatres everywhere on August 12th!
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