Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pete's Dragon (2016) Review

Okay, it's been about a week since I saw this movie so it's not exactly fresh in my memory...I'm actually way more excited about another movie that just arrived on my radar (The Little Prince, 2016 coming up), so we'll see how focused this review is.

The story: Pete is left alone as a small child in the forest after a car crash and he befriends a dragon named Elliot, who is the victim of townspeople' prejudice. If you've seen the classic 1977 movie, yep, that's the plot.

Good or bad? 

*clicks fingers at my amateur-film-critic-minions* Bring in the Black Mambaaaaaaaaaaa!

Bad! This movie was bad.

Muahahaha, that's so satisfying to say! I love having a strong negative opinion on things because usually I really like them or I'm sort of indifferent, but this was just an awful movie. It was failed to keep my interest, so much so that I actually started wondering, "When is this going to end?", which is a rare experience for me.  

I'll talk about the good stuff first, though. The good thing was that it had Bones in it *swoons*
Those who aren't familiar with that character in the new Star Trek movies will know him as the bad guy in Red or as...I dunno, some guy. He's not super handsome or anything but I love his acting for some reason. And I like the shape of his face. (It's a thing. Some face shapes are just nice to look at.)

The sass!

Anyway, he does a great job with the limited reactionary, greedy part that the moviemakers gave him. He does not, however, come close to the wonderful hokeyness of the villain from the '70s version:

Why don't they make musicals like this anymore? These lyrics are fantastic.   xD

So yes, the main perk of this movie is that Bones was in it. The flying scenes and the forest were gorgeous, though. And Lindsey Stirling and the Lumineers were in the soundtrack, the awesomeness of which cannot be ignored. Also, the first scene was beautiful. So don't get me wrong, I did like some things about this film.

Ya ready for the bad stuff yet? Here we go: 

I grew up with the old version, so I'm definitely biased, but objectively I really don't think this movie was very good. The plot was thin--even thinner than the '70s plot, which is hard to believe. They actually cut out that wonderful side plot with the main woman, Nora, waiting for her fiancé. ("I'l be your candle on the water. My love for you will always burn...") They also cut out the side plot with her bar-frequenting father, which is understandable but disappointing.

In addition there is very little character development, which was perhaps the main thing that made this movie seem lacking. I love seeing characters grow and change, and I have trouble caring about a story if it's not character-driven. Pete is the same throughout, as with the other wooden child actor and the adults who all act either concerned, terrified, or angry.

The old movie, in my opinion, was good because it covered these character and plot problems with awesome songs. Seriously, who can beat the lyrics of songs like "Passamaquoddy"?

The songs reflected the soul of the '70s version, too: lighthearted, not trying to be anything more than a cheesy family movie. Case in point:

I love this version of Elliot.  :)
The 2016 remake changed the feel of the movie to that of a depressing slice-of-life drama, which made it drag and exaggerated the thin plot and acting. I left the theater feeling down, which defeats the purpose of watching a movie in my opinion. I think even the saddest movies are feel-good, if they're any good, because they have some sort of redemptive message. The only message I got out of this was that certain fixtures of the environment can be saved (such as dragons). 

It could have used more jingle-jangle sound. (Oh yeeeeeaaaaaah!)


  1. I haven't seen either movie versions, so I don't really deserve to comment here, but I'll do it anyways since I agree with you as much as I can for not having seen the movies!

    From just watching the trailer, before I even knew it was a remake of an old Disney film, I seriously questioned the originality of the plot line. It looked like a convergence of "How To Train Your Dragon", "My Father's Dragon", and maybe "The Jungle Book". Every moment looked like it was taken from another movie.

    Oh, and it also looks overly dramatic, like you said. :/ The videography looked beautiful, but the trailer always left me wondering how much creativity went into the script writing.

    In my ( very humble) opinion, Disney needs to cut back on their live-action remakes. I loved Cinderella for its deepening of the cartoon's plot and I have high hopes for Beauty and the Beast, but when the new movies are just easy and watered down(as you said this one was), I wish Disney could spend that energy and money on new stories.

    And look! It's Eomer. (Or Bones, if you're a Star Trek fan. )

    1. Hear, hear! I would love to see more original Disney movies, especially the ones they do with Pixar. Finding Dory doesn't really count because it was a sequel. :P

      Funny, the day after I wrote this post my dad pointed out that Bones is also Eomer. Mom and I didn't quite believe him at first until I looked up a picture of Eomer and mentally compared the two characters. Even after that I don't think Mom bought it, haha. He looks so different with long hair!

    2. That's funny! I was pretty surprised when I saw the picture of him in Star Trek next to him as Eomer. I guess that just means he's a versatile actor.

      Oh, dear... I'm glancing over my comment again and apparently I used the word "look" five times. Oops. Excuse my end-of-day writing skills. ;)

    3. I didn't even notice! Looking is a good thing anyways, so no worries. ;)

  2. lol idk who that guy is either but he had cute hair at least ;P and yeah his acting is great but i like his star trek character the best. so funny.

  3. I haven't seen the adaptions. Neither of them!
    I don't even know if I actually saw it anywhere. But as you talk about it, I think I must share your opinion! It doesn't really look nice,especially not the Black Mamba(as you call it). Although you made it sound real funny.
    'Bring in the Black Mambaaaa!' :)

    1. Hi, Ruth! Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming and checking it out!

      I would definitely recommend the original version of Pete's Dragon. It's very cute, and I think you might like it. I definitely wouldn't recommend the new version, though, as you noticed. ;)

      Actually the Black Mamba is not from Pete's Dragon, it's from another movie called Megamind. I can see how my reference could be confusing because in the United States Megamind is very popular, but in the Netherlands maybe it isn't as well-known. :)

      Are there any movies that are made in the Netherlands that you enjoy?


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