Movies / Home Theatre

Pete's Dragon Blu-ray/DVD movie review


By Leroy Douresseaux
December 23, 2016 - 21:27

Pete's Dragon Blu-ray/DVD box cover art

Pete's Dragon is a re-imagining of Walt Disney's 1977 cherished family film, also entitled Pete's Dragon.  The new film focuses on an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon.  It arrived on Digital HD, Blu-ray, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.

This high-quality Blu-ray and DVD with a sharp picture, vivid colors, and full sound will help Pete's Dragon captivate families.  The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack includes never-before-seen bonus features, including a revealing look at director David Lowery's personal diary kept during the filming of Pete's Dragon.  Other features include a look at the design process behind the lovable dragon Elliot; deleted scenes from the film; a tour of the Pete's Dragon's breathtaking production location of New Zealand; audio commentary by filmmakers and actors; and hilarious bloopers.

Pete's Dragon introduces Pete, who experiences a tragedy that leaves him an orphan when he is five-years-old.  Lost in the forest, Pete meets a large dragon with green fur, yellow eyes, and wings on its back.  Pete names the dragon “Elliot” after a character in his favorite storybook, “Elliot Gets Lost,” and the boy and his dragon become a family.

Six years later, Pete (Oakes Fegley) spies forest ranger Grace Meachum (Bryce Dallas Howard) and is curious about her.  However, it is his encounter with a girl his age, Natalie (Oona Laurence), that brings Pete into contact with the world outside the forest where he lives with Elliot.  Soon, Pete is living among people again, and humans are hunting for Elliot, whom they know as the local legend, “the Millhaven dragon.”

I have only seen bits and pieces of the original 1977 Pete's Dragon, and I was not interested in this new film.  I even wondered why Disney needed to remake it.  Were there people really clamoring for a fresh take on a film that had probably seen its day come and gone?  I received a copy-for-review of the recent Blu-ray/DVD release of the new Pete's Dragon, obligating me to watch it.

I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it, although I think that this movie is truly a children's film.  In the last few decades, movie studios often believe that they have to make kids' movies have elements that appeal to the parents and adults that bring children to see movies aimed at the little ones.  I don't think that Pete's Dragon does that.

Pete's Dragon is a tale of child who lives in the world in his own terms.  As usual, adults cannot or will not see the magic he (Pete) lives with everyday.  It takes another child (Natalie) to truly understand the child hero's point of view.  In fact, the adult that is most successful in helping Pete, Grace, turns out to be the one most open to trying to see what the child does by listening and learning from the child.

Pete's Dragon is about the kind of magic and the kind of reality or surrealism that children accept, probably because they are willing to believe, where adults might have to suspend disbelief.  There is a lot about Pete's Dragon that stretches credulity, and that is OK.  If you believe in Pete and also in Elliot, you believe in Pete's Dragon.

This is one of those so-called “little movies,” cinematic gems that bide their time, gradually attracting new audiences one viewing at a time.  Pete's Dragon isn't perfect, but it is perfect for children and the child in adult viewers.


Bonus clips from Pete's Dragon:

Action Sequences


Making Magic

Welcome to New Zealand

Rating: B+ /10

Last Updated: February 5, 2023 - 09:06

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