Pete’s Dragon 2016 Review


Photo: Wikipedia

Saturday night we watched Pete’s Dragon with our daughter. I haven’t seen the original movie, so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. That’s probably a good thing. I found the movie to be the standard live action kids dramedy.

  • The orphaned boy raised in the wild. Check.
  • Endangered “scary” animal. Check. Bonus points for being “mythical”.
  • Old wise man who believes in said mythical creature. Check. Bonus points for being Robert Redford.
  • Skeptic with a big heart. Check.
  • Single parent. Check.
  • Instant buddy for the wild child. Check. Bonus for being the opposite sex but non-romantic.
  • Environmental concern – logging. Check.
  • Big bad anti-nature villain. Check.
  • Intervention of bad guys before they can wreck the environment. Check.
  • Wild boy hero outsmarts the grownups. Check.
  • Humorous chase through the town. Check.
  • Happy ending. Check.

I’m going to admit I didn’t know much about the original Pete’s Dragon or how this one was different beyond being live action. However, I went into it with low expectations, partly from others who were disappointed and partly because I’m not a fan of live action kid movies.

I didn’t hate it. There was beautiful scenery. I loved the retro 1970s-1980s setting. It made the story more “fresh” than if it had been set in the 2000s. My favorite part was how Elliot was rendered. I always think of dragons as reptiles but Elliot has green fur. This lead to some great conversation with my imaginative nine-year-old on what exactly a dragon is. My daughter said he’s like a dog with wings. She proceeded to lecture me on my reptilian assumption asking, “are bats reptiles? Hmmm.”

Overall, I can’t say it was a movie I loved. However, it was a cute movie, and I don’t recall any objectionable content. Definitely family friendly. And there is a dragon! I think fur-covered dragons automatically add a star rating to any movie. And I want to see the original if for no other reason than Jim Dale has a role. His voice. Yes!

What is your favorite live-action kids’ movie?

Have you seen the original Pete’s Dragon?

What about this movie?

About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

2 comments on “Pete’s Dragon 2016 Review

  1. Oh dear, I’m not so sure you want to subject yourself to the original.

  2. Hate to break it to you but the original was also live action, only the dragon was animated. Also be warned, it’s a musical.

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