Movie Review – ‘Pete’s Dragon’ (2016)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

I know I said I probably wouldn’t see the 2016 live-action remake of ‘Pete’s Dragon’ in a hurry once I reviewed the original 1977 film. But after seeing the original film again recently on DVD and with me subscribing to Disney+, my parents and I decided to check out the 2016 film to see what it was like. 🙂

And do you know what? I’m glad I’ve seen the 2016 film on Disney+. To say that this latest film is miles apart away from the original film in terms of tone and approach is an understatement. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean the serious tone the 2016 movie goes for suits it pretty well. 🙂

The story is about a feral orphaned boy named Pete who befriends a dragon that he calls Elliot in the Pacific Northwest. Six years later, Pete and his dragon get discovered by the town’s local residents. They have to deal with the ensuring repercussions of being found and discovered out of their forest.

The issues I have with the 1977 film are that most of it is rather over-the-top in terms of the performances by the actors and the comedic tone it’s going for. But then again, that was the nature of that film since it was a musical comedy and I couldn’t help liking it due to the certain charm it had.

Now that’s not to say the 2016 film doesn’t have charm to it. It’s just it’s a different charm altogether. I felt the characters and the atmosphere featured in this film were credible and believable to follow. It’s more drama than musical comedy, but in a way that makes it more appealing to watch.

Does that mean the 2016 film is superior to the 1977 film? Well, that’s rather to judge. Both films are very good in each of their respective natures. I accept the 1977 film for being a feel-good musical film. And I accept the 2016 film for being a rather feel-good drama film. It’s quite a unique remake. 🙂

That’s probably why I like the 2016 film as much as I like the 1977 film. It doesn’t go for the usual line-for-line approach that many Disney remakes have gone for lately e.g. ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King’. It goes for a different and dare I say it ‘original’ approach in a remake.

Let’s talk about what’s similar and what’s different about each of the two ‘Pete’s Dragon’ films. Well, they both have Pete and Elliot the Dragon. Good start! Elliot can turn himself invisible. Yes, that’s both in the original and the remake! And that’s about it. That’s all in terms of the movies’ similarities.

Wait! What about Passamaquoddy? …that’s not in the remake. Okay. Well, what about Dr. Terminus and Hoagy? …they’re not in this either. The Gogans? Nope! What about Nora and Lampie? Not present! Wow! That’s more than just the musical numbers being taken out of the remake, isn’t it?! 🙂

Okay, I think certain aspects of the original can be found in the remake like when Pete becomes orphaned and gets found by Elliot before he gets found by the Grace character that represents Nora from the original film. And I think Karl Urban’s guy represents the Dr. Terminus’ character somehow.

Oakes Fegley stars as Pete in the film. He delivers a mesmerising performance and is pretty agile. He could be the next ‘young Tarzan’. 😀 There’s also Bryce Dallas Howard (who played Gwen Stacy in ‘Spider-Man 3’) as Grace, a forest ranger who befriends Pete and, as I said, is a like Nora’s character. 🙂

There’s Wes Bentley as Jack, Grace’s boyfriend; Karl Urban (well-known as Éomer in ‘The Lord of the Rings’) as Gavin, Jack’s brother; Oona Laurence as Natalie, Jack’s daughter and Robert Redford (who was in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’) as Meacham, Grace’s father, who’s been telling stories about Elliot the dragon. John Kassir provides the vocal performance of Elliot the dragon in this film. 🙂

I know it should be worth pointing out that Elliot the dragon looks different in the 2016 live-action remake, being CGI, compared to the original Elliot, who was hand-drawn in the 1977 film. But then again, I’m not surprised since CGI is all the rage these days and I’m okay with Elliot being CGI here. 🙂

Overall, 2016’s ‘Pete’s Dragon’ had been worth seeing on Disney+ for my parents and me. I wouldn’t like to say the 2016 film is better than the original 1977 film since both films are tonally different from each other. It’s hard to judge which film is better, but if you like serious drama more than comedy-musical, then this should be the one for you. I’m certain you’ll have a good time watching it.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Movie Review – ‘Pete’s Dragon’ (2016)

  1. Zacharyah T Honikman

    That has my take as well, both Pete’s Dragon movies are good. However, they are so completely different you really can’t call the 2016 version a remake.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Thanks Zack.

      Glad you enjoyed this film as well as the 1977 film. It is amazing how both the 1977 film and the 2016 film are so different from each other.

      Tim. 🙂



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