It's been ten years since Walt Disney bought Pixar, the studio behind emotional family films Finding Nemo and Toy Story. That time has clearly been spent learning how to turn a good children's film, which once guaranteed good, clean fun, into an uncontrollable weep-fest trigger.
Pete’s Dragon is a punch through the heart: a young boy called Pete is abandoned in the forest at the age of five after his parents are killed in a car crash, but then rescued and raised by a dragon that no one else believes exists.
Based on the 1977 live-action animated Disney film by Don Chaffey, Pete's Dragon has been transformed by director David Lowery into a heavyweight that tackles issues of bravery, kindness and greed, and brings two very American characteristics into conflict: the American love of hunting and the American love of nurturing.
Set in the USA's wild, wild woods, wide-eyed and newly orphaned Pete (Oakes Fegley) is rescued by a cheeky, fluff-ball of a dragon with the heart of a puppy, who cares for him as he grows and learns, Jungle Book-style, to leap, crawl, run and roar at bears as Mowgli might.
Rumours of a dragon that lives in the woods have haunted the locals for years. The wizened Meacham (Robert Redford) and his stories are dismissed as claptrap by his park ranger daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), until, of course, she meets Pete one day.
Taken from the forest and put into hospital (with the ever-present threat of social services on the horizon) Pete rediscovers what it is to be human just as Grace learns what it is to be a child.
Underneath all of this frankly indecent emotional incontinence, the story is rooted in brilliant performances, especially from little Oakes Fegley, who gives his character a maturity and that makes his relationship with Elliot less father-son and more about two innocent, kindly equals.
If you can overlook the mild plot holes, such as Pete’s language skills (no one, having lived in a forest since the age of five with only a mute dragon to talk to, would be able to speak English as well as any other 11-year-old), then this is the children’s film of the summer that we recommend taking your little ones too. But do bring plenty of tissues, and no one under the age of six.
|What||Pete's Dragon review:|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
12 Aug 16 – 31 Oct 16, 9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here for more information|