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?