Director: David Lowery
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Karl Urban
Release Date: November 29, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
When a mysterious 10-year-old boy, Pete, turns up, claiming to live in the woods with a giant green dragon, it’s up to a forest ranger, Grace, and young Natalie to learn where the boy came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this magical dragon.
The latest live action reimagining of Disney’s animated classics (or in this case merely partially animated) marks a remarkable new take on ‘Pete’s Dragon’ which tells the story of a young boy who survives a sudden catastrophic car accident which claims the lives of his mother and father. After stumbling into the woods filled with uncertainty and despair, he meets a giant green dragon and quickly befriends him. Jumping ahead some years, we rejoin the boy and his dragon who continue to live in the woods and care for each other until the boy is discovered by a young girl, promptly leading to the separation of the boy and his dragon and subsequently resulting in a whole new barrage of problems once the dragon is discovered by locals determined to capture it. With time against them and countless obstacles in their way, both boy and dragon continue fighting to protect one another no matter the consequences, proving that some bonds are truly unbreakable and family can be found in the most unlikely of places.
Directed by the talented David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) from a script he also co-wrote with Toby Halbrooks (Halbrooks’ feature length screenwriting debut) which was itself based upon a screenplay by Malcolm Marmorstein who penned the screenplay for Disney’s original film respectively. Lowery does a magnificent job at the helm of this ‘Pete’s Dragon’ reimagining, perfectly capturing not only the magic, but the raw emotion and power of the tale. The film also owes plenty of credit to the cast which is comprised of numerous talented individuals including Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World), Robert Redford (The Sting), Oakes Fegley (TV’s Person of Interest), Wes Bentley (American Beauty), Karl Urban (Star Trek Beyond) and Oona Laurence (Bad Moms), along with more, nearly all of whom deliver more than capable performances in each of their respective roles.
This new reimagining of Disney’s ‘Pete’s Dragon’ is a true marvel to behold and easily one of the very best films of 2016. It’s magical, gorgeous, filled with wonderful and (in many cases) relatable characters, and absolutely brimming with heartfelt emotion that will easily captivate the viewer from the shocking and powerful opening sequence and tow you along on an emotional rollercoaster that simultaneously amazes with its beauty (which prominently includes the wonderfully impressive creation of the dragon which is a remarkable accomplishment alone) and continually tugs on your heart strings all the while. Disney has certainly managed to add some phenomenal entries in their current streak of reimagining so many of their animated classics and ‘Pete’s Dragon’ is definitely no exception, if anything marking one of the most impressive entries yet. Guided with obvious passion by talented director David Lowery who wrote and directed 2013’s phenomenal ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’, and further boosted by noteworthy performances across the board from a talented cast that includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Karl Urban, Oakes Fegley, and more. Disney’s new take on ‘Pete’s Dragon’ is a truly remarkable piece of filmmaking and one that any fan of the original classic, Disney in general, or simply quality filmmaking will definitely want to make a point of checking out when you have the chance; it’s well worth the cost of a rental at the absolute least.
Overall, Disney’s new take on their classic ‘Pete’s Dragon’ is a magical and simply outstanding masterpiece, and easily one of the absolute best film’s of 2016. Director David Lowery delivers a spectacular, emotionally riveting and personal film that continually impresses around every turn, not only in its stunning creation of the dragon, but as a truly spectacular film in every regard that never falters for a moment along its powerful course. I can’t possibly recommend this new take on ‘Pete’s Dragon’ highly enough, even those who may not be overly interested in the movie are likely to find themselves blown away by this phenomenal and heartfelt film if they are willing to give a shot.
The Blu-ray release of Disney’s ‘Pete’s Dragon’ reimagining features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and clean presentation from start to finish without any notable faults to be found within. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit sequences of which there are a good few, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a pretty spectacular high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack delivers a consistently crisp, clean and fairly active audio presentation throughout. It regularly utilizes all seven available channels in order to immerse the viewer within the score, in addition to sending plenty of nature elements and flying effects throughout the various speakers, along with crowd chatter and more, and never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously along with other auditory elements to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a splendid 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that perfectly complements the film and shouldn’t disappoint in any way.
The Blu-ray release of Disney’s new live action ‘Pete’s Dragon’ film includes a number of worthwhile extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer David Lowery, Co-Writer Toby Halbrooks, and Actors Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence’, in addition to a some fun ‘Bloopers’ (running approximately 90 seconds in length), and a number of ‘Disappearing Moments’ from the film (aka a ‘Deleted Scenes’ montage) which includes an introduction by David Lowery (running approximately 9 minutes in total). We are also treated to a few Featurettes/Videos that take you deeper into the making of the film and include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus some behind the scenes footage and more, they include: ‘Notes to Self: A Director’s Diary’ (running approximately 8 minutes), ‘Making Magic’ (approximately 2 minutes), and ‘Welcome to New Zealand’ (2 minutes). ‘2 Music Videos’: “Nobody Knows” by The Lumineers (approximately 3 minutes), and “Something Wild” by Lindsey Sterling ft. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (4 minutes) are also included.