Pete’s Dragon is Disney’s awesome new film that has in abundance, the breath of fire and emotion that it’s counterpart, The BFG, lacked. The opening 5 to 7 minutes is exceptionally beautiful. We’re led into Pete’s story and his character crises hits us so early its honestly quite a surprise. Openings aren’t usually this attuned to the emotions. I found myself almost instantly entranced and true enough, I was completely immersed in its magical realism. Pete’s Dragon borrows classic themes from trademark Disney but forges ahead without being emotionally instructional. There are quiet moments and there are silent moments, hidden moments for us to feel on our own…and there are other moments that get inside the wonderful yet misunderstood relationship between a boy and a dragon.
Pete’s Dragon is a beast of a film. For all it’s charm and appeal, it delivers an equal amount of meaningful themes and cinematic verve. There is no point pointing out the plot here, even to a slight degree because that’ll just take away too much of the film. But I can say the film re-imagines the old classic in a modern world, and highlights at every turn the forces at play in the film. The forces of the real world, informed by the business of money and reputation, characterized by the contractors clash with the idyll and peace of the jungle which houses the unique enclave that Pete and Elliot share. With all the heart put into this movie and what it stood for, I could feel that the movie actually stood for something. Pete’s Dragon does that through being earnest and real; It doesn’t opt for fake crises that so many films employ to avoid being too ‘real.’ It doesn’t cheat you into feeling a certain way. Pete’s Dragon is in many ways, one of the more authentic experiences in the cinema I’ve had this year.
Oakes Fegley and Bryce Dallas Howard were fantastic. I enjoyed their time on screen as each brought new meaning to their roles throughout the film. And of course, I loved Elliot the dragon. Elliot isn’t too flashy which I think helps with the impression that the film is trying to create. Elliot’s benevolent nature and the way that Pete bonds with him is irresistibly sweet. It reminded me abit of Midnight Special; Pete and Elliot’s symbiotic relationship is more inter-dependent and admittedly more heartfelt. Kudos to scriptwriters who didn’t leave out the scene in the alley where a momentary lost of contact between the two is brilliantly portrayed without any filters. It is pure,unadulterated and instinctive.
In the end, Pete’s Dragon is full of many different kinds of moments that all feel heartfelt. Sincere film-making. Unlike it’s box-office competitor The BFG which was mostly fluff, Pete’s Dragon is visually spectacular and hard-hitting when it wants to be. It gives us things to think about as well by surfacing the issue of environmental preservation through a unique lens. Ultimately, it is more than just a coming-of-age tale, a realist fable and a visual treat-Pete’s Dragon is a timeless classic remagined to be an allegory; An allegory about how there are so many things that exist beyond our imagination and how we should just let them be. In the last few scenes, (admittedly emotional scenes that made me whimper a little, yeah I’m a wet blanket when it comes to movies like that :P), I realized just how pure and powerful the bonds between the two were. I left the movie with thoughts of the characters I’d just seen and I got a feeling that wherever they might be, they were still together forever. I loved this film