This week I attended a media screening for the reboot of an old favorite, Pete’s Dragon.
I have a confession: I’m not an uber-fan of the original! I enjoyed it as a kid, but it wasn’t something I needed to see over and over again. I was already in the “meh” camp when I heard about the new movie coming out, and I wasn’t swayed by what I saw at D23. Maybe I needed to see Robert Redford up on stage, ha! (Sorry, Bryce!).
My kids, however, knew better. As a refresher on my family, I have kids ages 13, 11, 9 and 5-years-old. And they were all fighting over who got to attend the movie with me because each of them was dying to see it based on the trailers. I don’t think any of them have even seen the original.
Kids: they sometimes know more than me! I should trust their judgment more.
The story of Pete’s Dragon is somewhat predictable, and I think that’s why I was hesitant to see it. I pretty much knew what I’d see, or so I thought.
I knew I’d fall in love with the kindly dragon (I did).
I knew there would be some sort of bad guy wanting to do him harm (there was).
And I knew I’d be mad/sad/frustrated with how the dragon and the boy’s relationship were treated by well-meaning adults.
Ahhh… that’s where Disney TRICKED ME.
Instead of feeling any sort of disappointment, I was surprised at every turn how the characters developed. From young Pete and his sweetness to the old wood carver (Redford) who tells the tales of meeting a dragon in the woods to even the expected “bad guy,” I adored each one.
Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Pete (Oakes Fegley) were meant to be a family.
Official description from Disney:
For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliot. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliot seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” opens in U.S. theaters on August 12, 2016.
After shedding a few tears toward the end of the movie, I left with a one-word description: sweetness.
This movie is lovely, light, and just so sweet. I can find something to roll my eyes over in just about every movie I see, I’m such a cynic. But I can honestly say this one got zero eye rolls from me. It was pure and true.
And had Robert Redford in it. (Yes, I might still be obsessed with him going way back to the first movie I saw him in, The Sting. Swoon.)
A reminder to those that loved the older movie: this is not a remake. So go in with fresh expectations and a clean slate. It stands on its own and is sure to be a family favorite.
Embracing the summer of Pokemon Go: take them all! This movie is perfect for the whole family on just about every level. My youngest wants to hug a dragon based on the trailers. She’s going to be begging her dad to find her one after this movie!
It covers a lot of important topics in gentle ways: the death of Pete’s parents (hey, it’s a Disney movie- of course the parents die), separation, complex family dynamics, friendship, and bravery.
Have some fun!