Folsom Lake College's Online Newspaper
by Shaelyn Saraceni
Disney has done it again with a fantastic new twist on a favored classic, inviting the Audience to relive the magic through Pete and his dragon.
In recent years, the much beloved Disney Studios have done a phenomenal job at reviving some of its most quintessentially classic films: The Jungle Book, Cinderella, Tarzan, and more. Disney is pushing the limits of CGI, especially in re-creating exceptional characters. In the very near future of 2017 we can also expect the new live-action Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson (well known as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter movies) as Belle and Dan Stevens as the beast. The original Pete’s Dragon is, without a doubt, a phenomenal and timeless film. However, the resurrection of this classic story is remarkable.
In the beautifully crafted film, Pete’s Dragon, the young Pete, played by Oakes Fegley, gets separated from his family on an adventure in the forest, and winds up meeting a big, lovable dragon which he names Elliot. Years later, Pete encounters a little girl in the forest about the same age as himself, and she follows him until he climbs up a tree. The girl’s father, played by actor Wes Bentley (who starred as the Hunger Games gamemaker Seneca Crane), along with her soon-to-be stepmother, played by actress Bryce Dallas Howard (who starred as the new Victoria in the Twilight Saga), decide to help Pete find his parents. To their dismay, they discover that Pete’s parents are dead, so they take it upon themselves to find him a home. Pete would be delighted to continue his days in the forest with Elliot, but adults want realistic answers that do not involve mystical beings. However, after Pete draws a picture of his big forest friend, Bryce Dallas Howard (who plays the forest ranger called Grace) only begins to believe Elliot is real since her father, played by Robert Redford, claims to have encountered the same dragon. After investigating her father’s claims, including a serious grown-up talk, Grace is convinced and takes Pete to his much beloved forest where she asks him to show her to Elliot. Elliot, being a skittish dragon with chameleon-like invisibility powers, takes some coaxing from Pete before feeling comfortable to reveal himself. Grace, her father, and her soon-to-be stepdaughter all marvel at the great dragon. Little do they know, Wes Bentley’s brother, in the movie that is, had a fairly negative experience with the dragon just the day before, and was on the hunt for it with some of his lumberjack comrades. The brother, played by actor Karl Urban, captures Elliot, and transports the massive creature to a warehouse. Furthermore, Karl Urban is determined to repress the beast for profit. Pete and his adolescent friend, played by actress Oona Laurence, take matters into their own hands. With help from Robert Redford, they are able to break Elliot out. However, they get into a classic car chase with the cops and Karl Urban close on their tail. After regaining his strength. Elliot is able to take off, but burns a bridge in his fury towards his capturers, endangering Grace and Wes Bentley. Pete begs his dragon friend to save them, since they had been so nice to him. Elliot begrudgingly plunges after them as they fall from the bridge, followed by a dramatic pause for effect. Of course, Elliot returns both of them to the surface safely. Karl Urban has a change of heart about the beast after it saves his brother, and he allows Elliot to go back to the forest. Pete and Elliot have a heartfelt (and for some of the audience, a tear filled) moment of goodbyes as they realize in order for them both to be safe, Pete must go live with the humans. Grace and Wes Bentley adopt Pete, and they all go on adventures in other lands together. The closing scene is Pete finding the land of the dragons with his new family.
The film had a fantastic use of CGI effects that made the forest scenes particularly beautiful and appealing. In addition, Disney tugged on the old heart strings, and managed to draw some very emotional scenes which make the children ask, “Why are you crying daddy?” Overall, a splendid and enjoyable experience that I would recommend to anyone with a childlike spirit. Be sure to keep a look out for the movie online and in stores.
FLC Main: FR-108