“Pete’s Dragon” is one of those magical Disney movies that sparks the imagination and makes everyone in the audience — no matter how old — feel like a kid again.
Deep in the woods, so far in that no one ever goes there, lives Pete (Oakes Fegley). But he is not alone. Pete lives with his best friend, Elliot, who is a fuzzy, green, magical, flying dragon.
One day Pete meets Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), Natalie (Oona Laurence) and Jack (Wes Bentley), who bring him back into civilization, which means the secret of Elliot might soon be out. Especially when Jack’s brother Gavin (Karl Urban) also ventures into the woods. When Gavin meets Elliot, he sees a huge opportunity to catch a dragon.
Elliot is not like other dragons you see in movies. His furry, rather than scaly skin, makes him that much more lovable and huggable. He also has deep golden eyes that are full of expressive emotion. He only makes dragon noises, but you can read in the motions of his face, eyes and ears what he’s thinking.
All that makes you understand why Pete loves Elliot so much, and why other characters want to help him. Fegley himself is perfectly cast as Pete. He has a wild side from running around in the woods, but also a desire to be home with a family.
Howard also plays a key role as a mother figure to Pete and someone who knows and loves the woods, which makes her and Pete relate on a deeper level.
Robert Redford shines so well as Meacham, Grace’s dad, and the narrator/grandpa figure in the movie that you can’t imagine anyone else in the role.
There are also plenty of laughs, with jokes for kids and adults alike and scenes that make viewers giggle like a kid as the silly dragon crash lands, snores and chases his tail.
But it’s not without another Disney quintessential element: heart. “Pete’s Dragon” is about family and finding where you belong, which brings a tender element to it, rather than relying solely on laughs.
“Pete’s Dragon” is a movie the whole family can enjoy and be filled with absolute child-like wonder seeing Pete and his dragon swoop and spin through the air.
But be warned: If you take your kids, they will ask you for a dragon.