Following on from their fantastic BFG interpretation, Pete’s Dragon is another family film that revolves around loneliness and belonging. Although not as strong as Steven Spielberg’s BFG, or Jon Favreau’s fantastic Jungle Book remake, Pete’s Dragon is still a solid and moving family film that is well-worth checking out.
Based on the relatively unknown Disney film of the same name, Pete’s Dragon is about a young orphan boy named Pete (played by a fantastic Oakes Fegley) who is living in the wilderness, with his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon. However, after a series of events, Pete is taken in by Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her fiancée Jack (Wes Bentley), despite trying to get back to the wild. Meanwhile, Jack’s brother Gavin (Karl Urban) attempts to catch Elliot and bring him in, in order to step out of his brother’s shadow.
The film is undeniably sentimental, perhaps too much, and definitely tries to pull at the heartstrings. It does manage this, to some extent, but relies too much on the score by Daniel Hart to tell the audience how to feel. The film is at its best when it’s just Pete and Elliot, or when Pete is with Grace and her daughter Natalie. As you would expect from a Disney film, the visuals are simply stunning and the cinematography is also quite fantastic! The performances are all great across the board, and it’s always nice to see screen legend Robert Redford make an appearance. However, the film’s overwhelming sentimentality is what really lets the film down and affects the emotional punch that the film should deliver.
Overall though, Pete’s Dragon is a well-made family film that inspires wonder and entertains with its visuals, performances and themes.