Review by Steve Duffy –
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.
All the adult actors are one dimensional with no complexity. Karl Urban is the closest thing to a villain, who is determined to get fame and fortune from capturing Elliot.
The story is a little dark, especially the opening, so kids may be scared and/or sad. Those feelings will change quickly once you meet Elliot. He is the real star of the movie. The CGI emerald-green dragon will definitely be loved by all.
Pete’s Dragon is not my favorite live-action fable and one that definitely probably didn’t need to be remade, but it is full of heart and magic that we all need.
Rating: PG-13 for action, peril and language
Runtime: 95 minutes.