PETE’S DRAGON (2016) 4.5 Stars (out of 5)
PETE’S DRAGON is a movie whose story will touch both parent and child emotionally. Perhaps this is the late summer surprise we have been waiting for. It is one of the finest films to be made this year, on par with Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK (2016). It just has everything going for it. Solid direction by David Lowery. An outstanding cast led by Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence. Lush cinematography helmed by Bojan Bazelli. Strong editing by Lisa Zeno Churgin. An absolutely lovely musical score written by Daniel Hart. And a dragon named Elliot who you will fall in love with.
Make no mistake, this magical dragon will steal your heart. And with the magnificent Pacific Northwest forests (actually filmed in New Zealand), who better to serve as the film’s narrator than Robert Redford himself.
A word about that strongly written screenplay. We are so spoiled by the non-stop action of our comic book heroes, that as a movie goer, we seem to have forgotten what a joy it is to watch a real story on the screen. PETE’S DRAGON unfolds very slowly, as if we are reading a book. In this case, it is better than the first PETE’S DRAGON (1977).