Saturday, 20 August 2016

'Pete's Dragon' Review

'Pete's Dragon' is the latest film to recieve a reboot in the form of a live action movie. The original was sort of live action with a cartoon dragon but now, Disney are going all an extent. Comparing this to Disney's other live action project this year 'The Jungle Book', 'Pete's Dragon' has had nowhere near as much attention put on it. Maybe this is due to it not being as beloved but still, you'd expect a Disney project like this to be a lot more in the public eye. Due to this, I didn't expect a masterpiece. I wish it did gain more recognition as 'Pete's Dragon' is very much so an entertaining movie.

When he was very young, Pete (Oakes Fegley) was in a car accident that took the lives of his parents. Orphaned, he was saved by a green dragon who took care of him and they became each others family. Mr Meacham (Robert Redford) told stories of how he encountered the dragon to which many believed were not true, including his own daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard). Grace soon discovers Pete who claims to have lived with the dragon in the woods. Grace will now see for herself if what she has been told has been the truth all along.

I have no memory of seeing the original 'Pete's Dragon' and if I have seen it, it would have been when I was very little. Some may have a problem with this remake but for me, it was a lesser known story that could do with being brought back to the big screen for a new generation to know of the story. And I feel that it more than succeeded as a reboot/remake. This retelling of the story created a fun, family adventure which it set out to do.

The main part of the film obviously has to do with the relationship between Pete and his dragon, Elliott. With minimal dialogue, you can see a true love between the two which is impressive considering the relationship consists of a child actor and a completely CGI character. The film handles the relationship between the two very well as we see that they really rely on each other. They hate being apart for any period of time and you can see a true bond between the pair. Strangely, the film cannot do this at all with the relationship of Bryce Dallas Howard's character Grace and her husband played by Wes Beentley. We are told that they are a unit but it never really shows in the film. The pair don't have great chemistry together and they don't seem to be in a relationship at all. Just an observation that seemed strange considering how well the film handled the relationship between boy and creature.

Oakes Fegley does very well as Pete, the orphaned child who was taken care of by Elliott. He was impressive in his role as were thee supporting characters. Oona Laurence is Grace's daughter Natalie which brings in another child actor but again she is great. She develops a friendship with Pete that helps draw his personality out as he grows to trust people more as he gains his first human friend. Laurence shined last year in 'Southpaw' and she impressed me yet again and most definitely is one for the future. 

Karl Urban does a tremendous job as Grace's brother in law Gavin who after discovering Elliott, seeks to hunt him down. After playing one of the most likeable characters 'Bones' in Star Trek Beyond, Urban plays a terrific bad guy who you just dislike as soon as he finishes his first scene. The character was well written and equally well portrayed by Urban who shines again. Him and his group of cronies get the film to become more exciting as the pursue the beast, giving us comedy as well as moments where we see our protagonists struggle and even plays with your emotions.

Robert Redford appears in this film and for what the scenes he's in, he's great. However he appears quite early on in the film for not a long period of time and then completely disappears from the story. With his character having already encountered the dragon already, I feel they could have done a lot more with him. He was underutilised to an extent as he doesn't show up for a good 40 minutes after his first appearance and you sort of forget about him. In saying that though, he does play a big part in the finale which is very fun with Redford leading from the front.

It's safe to say that the start of the film isn't as interesting or as fun a the rest of the film. That's mainly due to the story not really kicking in until later on and even then it is quite thin and the events happen rather quickly. The film certainly takes its time at first to set everything up which may not be as entertaining the whole way through. However they do make sure to throw in some nice scenes involving Pete and Elliott playing together, showcasing the relationship and showing off some dazzling CGI effects at the same time.

Speaking of the CGI in this film, it is of a very high standard. The dragon looks decent and there is a consistency in quality throughout the whole film. It's not your usual dragon which resembles a dog a lot of the time but nonetheless, it is still very impressive. The CGI is utilised incredibly well when creating other creatures in the film as well. I'm not entirely sure if they were CGI but the wolves in this film looked so lifelike that I'm really unsure if they were generated rather than actually being there. I hope that it was CGI as it would go down as one of the best uses this year, matching that from 'The Jungle Book' earlier this year.

Overall, Pete's Dragon is a family, fun and heartwarming film that will bring entertainment across the board. A good example of what a remake should do and it seems to have introduced a tale to a new generation with a nice modern look at it. Worth seeing if you already enjoy the tale or if you are completely new to the story, like myself.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Pete's Dragon'? If so what did you think of the film? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie! Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor