We are looking for fans of film and games who want to contribute reviews, lists, or features.
The big question on our minds since Disney announced the remake of 1977’s Pete’s Dragon was obvious, “What’s Elliot going to look like?” They teased a clever poster a while back, but now we have the real answer and he’s all over this clip in mighty CGI glory. The original was hand drawn of course and no one expected that to be the case for the reboot, but Elliott in 1977 was highly-stylized to appear cartoonish and fantastical. What would they do in modern times? Well it looks like a mix.
Borrowing from many dragon archetypes, the new Elliott is much more authentic, if that can be said, in appearance, with proportional dimensions and wingspan. Seventies Elliott barely had wings that could support such a girth. Today’s Elliott is like a Boeing jet airliner. Watching the clip numerous times, the big dragon grew on us and by the time the sweeping dive bomb of the river valley came along, we felt a bit more on board.
The tone of the film is, at least revealed here, darker than expected, but that’s not a bad thing. Pete (Oakes Fegley) is an entirely different character from his counterpart, this time being a lost child in the woods rather than a runaway from a cruel family, though that’s speculation based on the trailer. We are introduced to the park ranger named Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) who discovers Pete, and her father Mr. Chameleon (Robert Redford), a wood carver who has long told stories of a dragon in the forest. They are joined by Natalie (Oona Laurence), the daughter of a lumber mill owner. These are the people who take Pete in and try to understand his story. But there are people worrisome of a living dragon, naturally. So we meet Jack (Wes Bentley), Natalie’s father and his particularly skeptical brother Gavin (Karl Urban) who stirs up a frenzy to hunt the dragon down, involving the local sheriff. Some of these conflicts don’t appear to be comical as they were in the old days, with one moment revealing a very upset Elliott. He’s big. He’s green, and it looks like we wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
The film is geared for young children but has some decidedly heavy themes in the trailer, which is surprisingly uplifting. Imagination was key to the original and no doubt here as well as we discover the secret of Pete and his dragon. With a big summer schedule coming and lots of competition, we’ll see how it does, but Disney has had a string of successes lately, culling from their back catalog so there’s a good chance Pete’s Dragon will soar.
David Lowery (screenplay), Toby Halbrooks (screenplay)
Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, Robert Redford