Starring: Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, Isiah Whitlock, Jr. and Robert Redford
Directed by David Lowery
From Walt Disney studios this version of Pete’s Dragon is well done and does manage to pull at the heartstrings a bit. The kid that plays Pete does a great job of playing opposite a CGI effect while the CGI effect does make for a very realistic looking dragon. It really helps make Elliot the dragon very likeable that he acts like a playful dog in a lot of his moments while also showing some personality while on his own.
Bryce Dallas Howard is a widow raising an 11 year old girl and talking marriage with Wes Bentley who owns a lumber yard. At least I think she’s a widow as far as I can tell that’s not expressly explained which is my chief complaint with this movie, the lack of detail with characters.
Bryce Dallas Howard becomes really attached to Pete with little explanation. Karl Urban is the villain but not an overly bad one. He just wants to become famous by capturing a dragon like we all do. There’s hints that his character and his brother played by Wes Bentley have some sibling rivalry and Karl is jealous because Wes owns the lumber yard and Karl just works for him but again it’s not explained. There’s also a backstory with Robert Redford actually seeing Elliot years before but again very little detail.
When he’s around Robert Redford is great. In fact all the actors are great. Oakes Fegley who plays Pete certainly pulls at the heartstrings when he’s just trying to get back to his pet dragon. The girl that plays the daughter of Bryce Dallas Howard’s character is a good actor. Elliot is a cute dragon, the CGI is good and the story itself is fun to watch.
We bristle when someone says they don’t watch Grease because they take umbrage with the changes Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) needed to make in order to impress Danny (John Travolta). But the reality as we see it is the situation was the other way around and Danny was the one making the sacrifices to impress Sandy.
To start Sandy was not just trying to impress Danny she’s also trying to impress the Pink Ladies. They were the ones making fun of her mannerisms and appearance during the Sandra Dee song. Not Danny. And Danny never asked her to change, he wanted to date Sandy the way she was, it was Danny’s friends that made things difficult by putting her down.
Essentially the “change” Sandy made was a makeover that was done in a day. She didn’t do it just to be with Danny she also did it to fit in with the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds and it was a change that easy could be reversed. She changed because she didn’t like the crowd she did fit in with and wanted to fit in with a different crowd. Not just to impress Danny. And she had support from the Pink Ladies in doing this, she wasn’t going against her friends interests.
On the other hand Danny’s change was more significant and was just for Sandy. He went through numerous sports before he found one that he could letter in because he thought that would make Sandy happy. And he made this change knowing that it was an interest the other T-Birds did not share and would mock him for.
So Danny put more effort into his change than Sandy did, he did it just for her while Sandy did it to fit in with the crowd, and he did it with no support and facing ridicule from friends while Sandy did it with support and not risking ridicule from people she would consider friends.
Please consider this the next time you want to roll your eyes and complain that Sandy had to “Change for her man” she didn’t. Also it was the 50’s, get over it.