Movie Review: Pete’s Dragon

Rating: 2 Stars


I’ll admit my bias here, this is not a movie made for me. But hear me out, I don’t see the impact of Pete’s Dragon striking a nerve in the family movie section for years to come.

Personally, I couldn’t get past the millions of questions that concerned living dragons and how a human being would react to encountering one. The antagonist decided that shooting it with tranquilizer darts after nearly being mauled by the beast was the best plan of attack before selling it off to the circus. That antagonist is Gavin, played by Karl Urban, who is the evil guy that cuts down trees in restricted areas.

After you shoot a dragon that’s the size of a couple elephants, how does one lift him into a truck in the middle of a forest? Was there a spare crane lying around?

Get on me for nitpicking here, but any intuitive kid should question that logic.

Alright fine. This is a story crafted around the basis of family. Family values, who constitutes as family, all told within three compact segments of classic Disney storytelling.

  1. Establishment: Pete is a Tarzan-like kid who lost his real family and found comfort by befriending a dragon, named Elliot.
  2. Abandonment: Pete is separated from his only friend/family Elliot when he is discovered by a girl named Natalie.
  3. Acceptance: Pete finds new family with Natalie and her parents, while Elliot finds himself a home with his dragon brethren.

Happily ever after. Obviously there’s some plot in between where the loggers capture the dragon which is much to the dismay of Pete and Natalie, whom go on a mission to save them with the help of Robert freakin’ Redford (which he literally drives the best scene in the film). Bryce Dallas Howard plays Natalie’s mother in the ‘strong motherly role’ while the dad, Wes Bentley, tries his best to stand around and look like Jake Gyllenhaal.

The dragon as puppy role is reminiscent of Dreamworks, “How to Train Your Dragon”. Vikings and their fiery attitudes mesh a lot better with dragons.

Elliot will get some laughs out of kids and grownups who see a well CGI’d dragon rolling around like Fido as quite humorous.

The best Disney movies have special qualities. Memorable moments. Memorable characters. Are you going to remember any characters from Pete’s Dragon? Was there any music you’ll sing along to 20 years later? Will you show Pete’s Dragon to your kids?

I rest my case.