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.
“Pete’s Dragon” will inspire a sense of awe in your family. It is a wonderful movie experience. The live action is seamlessly mixed with CGI, and it’s so realistic that anyone might think a dragon named Elliot could fly around somewhere in the woods. The movie is today’s “E.T.” It has similarities to that film, including a young boy, Pete (Oakes Fegley), who finds an extraordinary friend in Elliot, the dragon. It also includes a police chase and others who are interested in capturing Elliot for all the wrong reasons. Pete and his friend Natalie (Oona Laurence) and a woman named Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) try to set Elliot free. The movie is one of those rare gems that features solid acting, a great story, marvelous special effects, and good music, to boot. One scene features young Pete running over the side of the cliff and then Elliot rises up and flies, with Pete riding him and holding onto his back. One little girl, who was in the theater with her mother, kept saying, “Elliot! Elliot!” every time the dragon appeared on screen. That kind of response is what you would call movie magic.
We are pleased to award the film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for all ages, but parents should read our content listing to make their own informed choices. Enter a wonderful world where dragons fly, and a boy is a dragon’s best friend.
Editor’s note: In 1976, the animated/live-action version of Pete’s Dragon was filled with lovely music written by two-time-Academy-award-winning composer (and Dove Foundation Advisory Board Member) Al Kasha along with his partner, Joel Hirschhorn. The duo earned Oscar nominations for the score to the original Pete’s Dragon, including the memorable, “Candle on the Water” sung by Helen Reddy, which was also nominated for Best Original Song.