We watched Disney’s remake of their 1977 film Pete’s Dragon, as they continue to bring us live action reincarnations of their classic films, following the success of the Jungle Book, with reports that Dumbo and the Lion King are to follow.
Now whilst reboot/remakes are horrific when they take on films you love and are nowhere near as good, for us we would include The Fog; Robocop and Total Recall in that category, we were not so against the idea of this remake.
The original film, we really could not remember much about, other than an Orphan boy and his pet dragon are on the run from his cruel adoptive parents and that it also starred Jim Dale, from the popular ‘Carry On’ films.
This remake works as whilst it shares the same name, it is almost a completely different story, and no singing numbers in this one either.
The film certainly grabs your attention, as it starts with us seeing Pete (Oakes Fegley) in a car with his parents, about to go on a holiday adventure, except it is cut short when a deer runs out, causing the car to crash. Pete is the only survivor and flees into the forest.
We skip forward 6 years later and this young boy is almost a carbon copy of Mowgli from The Jungle Book, except rather than jungle animals as friends, it is a big CGI puppy-like dragon.
Pete has his own life now in the jungle, being brought up by the dragon, he has called Elliot, after a character in his children’s book but all that is under threat when the nearby Lumber Mill are cutting down most of the trees in the forest, amongst these are Jack (Wes Bentley) and his hunter brother Gavin (Karl Urban)
Pete is eventually spotted by Jack’s daughter, Natalie (Oona Laurence) who chases him up a tree, only to fall and her screams attract those at the mill, including Jack’s Park ranger girlfriend Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard)
When running to get away, Pete is knocked unconscious and awakes in the nearby town’s hospital. He tells Grace he wants to get back to the forest, to his Dragon friend, and she is amazed when his drawing of Elliot is almost a carbon copy of the drawing her father (Robert Redford) did when he thought he saw him when he was a young boy.
Things are made worse, when Gavin who has also seen Elliot wants to hunt him down, thinking he can make a lot more money than he could from the Lumber Mill, so now Pete, who was once saved by Elliot, will need to return the favour.
We enjoyed this film, however, it did suffer from not being too original, this in part due to the boy and his weird creature, we had only seen recently in Monster Trucks, but the cast do well, especially the youngsters, although Urban as Gavin is a bit too much Pantomime villain than evil hunter. Redford is very good as the sympathetic storytelling father and Howard does well swapping the dinosaurs of Jurassic World for the caring park ranger.
The relationship between Pete and Elliot is what makes this film watchable. Elliot himself is like a Great Dane with Wings, and his dog traits are a joy to see, although for a dragon he does look unusual with fur rather than scales! If you liked the original, or love a good family friendly adventure, you could do a lot worse than give this remake a try.
You can watch the trailer here:
You can find the film to buy at Amazon here:
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