Animation Adventures

Unleashing Magic & Love: A Review of Pete’s Dragon

Pete’s Dragon is a 2016 fantasy adventure film, directed by David Lowery and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. The film stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, and Robert Redford.

The movie takes us on a thrilling journey of adventure, magic, and most importantly, love.

The story follows the life of a 10-year-old orphan named Pete, who has spent the last six years living in the forest with his friend, Elliot, a mystical dragon.

Elliot has always kept Pete protected from danger and ensured his well-being, but their life takes a turn when a group of loggers invades their forest. Pete soon gets separated from Elliot and ends up in a small town, where he meets Grace, a forest ranger.

She takes him in and tries to find out where he came from and how he managed to survive in the forest for so long.

The movie takes us through a series of emotions, as we see Pete struggling to adjust to a life outside the forest, away from his best friend.

However, Grace and her fianc Jack, a local mill owner, try their best to provide him with a family and love, but they soon realize that Pete’s past still haunts him. Meanwhile, Elliot starts looking for Pete and eventually makes his way to the town.

However, his arrival causes chaos as people try to capture him and turn him into a spectacle.

Pete’s Dragon works on different levels.

It has a very touching storyline that revolves around the bonds of love and friendship. It shows how pets can be a source of comfort and support, even in extreme circumstances.

Moreover, the movie also advocates for conservation and the environment. It beautifully portrays the importance of forests and the wildlife that resides in them.

It encourages people to appreciate and care for nature.

The movie’s cinematography is breathtaking, with the forest sequences being visually stunning.

The soundtrack complements it, with its soft, soothing tones of the acoustic guitar that fits perfectly with the calmness of the forest.

The actors deliver phenomenal performances, with Oakes Fegley stealing the show as Pete.

His performance is nuanced and authentic, making it hard not to root for him. Bryce Dallas Howard and Karl Urban deliver strong performances as well as the ones trying to provide Pete with a home.

Robert Redford shines in his supporting role, providing some comic relief and adding an extra layer to the movie’s charm.

In conclusion, Pete’s Dragon is a heartwarming family film that offers a healthy dose of adventure and magic.

It carries with it a strong message of love, friendship, and conservation. With its stunning visuals, touching performances, and enchanting storytelling, it’s no wonder that this film is now a beloved classic.

It’s a movie that has something for everyone, whether you’re a child or an adult. Pete’s Dragon is a heartwarming tale that explores the power of friendship, the importance of family, and the magic of the imagination.

The story centers around Pete, a young boy who has spent six years living in the forest with his best friend Elliot, a dragon that he believes saved his life when he was orphaned. As he begins to transition into a new life in the nearby town, his bond with Elliot is tested, as people seek to exploit the creature for their own gain.

The adventure begins when Pete stumbles upon a logging crew in the forest. He quickly becomes disoriented and is separated from Elliot.

The ongoing theme of isolation and difference are quickly introduced in the film, as Pete’s existence with Elliot has meant that he has never been truly connected to society. As he resurfaces into civilization, he encounters Forest Ranger, Grace, who takes him in and tries to help him fit in.

The audience is introduced to the themes of friendship and humanity through the relationship between Pete and Grace. While Pete is initially skeptical of Grace’s kindness, he eventually begins to trust her, and she becomes a maternal figure to him.

As Pete begins to integrate into society, his attachment to Elliot becomes a point of conflict as he has to conceal his connection to the dragon. The core conflict of the story is established when the company’s owner, Gavin, discovers Elliot’s existence and begins to hunt him down.

The town starts chasing Elliot, hoping to capitalize on the rare opportunity of a living dragon. This is where the theme of exploitation emerges as the people of the town see Elliot as a source of wonder and financial profit: the reality is that they see him as the dragon that can bring them money which generates a kind of turmoil in which Fantasy meets cold and hard reality.

The hunt for Elliot leads to dramatic events in the movie that heightens the suspense and action. However, amidst the chaos that ensues in the climax, the movie stays true to its themes when Pete realizes that Elliot, being a wild animal, is a danger to society if he is stuck in the human world.

Pete chooses to let Elliot go, realizing that it is for the best, though the separation from his best friend is heart-wrenching for both of them. The movie’s plot offers a lot of lessons that the audience can relate to.

One of these lessons is that true friendship is supportive and protective. Another lesson is that family is not just blood relatives, but can also constitute those people who we love and care for.

Thirdly, the movie urges us to be appreciative of and to preserve our environment and its inhabitants. In conclusion, Pete’s Dragon is more than just a cute fantasy movie; it should be seen as a story about love, friendship, and protecting the environment.

The movie spotlights the strong bonds of friendship, family, and the dangers and impact of exploitation. It utilizes cinematic techniques and breathtaking landscape views that captivate audiences and endorse key themes in the movie.

It also addresses the need to protect endangered animals and their habitats. With good pacing and compelling characters, the movie effectively takes the viewers on a journey into an imaginative and incredible world that is both magical and relatable.

The production of Pete’s Dragon was quite an extraordinary feat, as the film utilized both live-action and computer-generated imagery (CGI) to create the dragon. The film was directed by David Lowery, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Toby Halbrooks.

The film was a remake of the 1977 Disney classic, which many thought would be impossible to top; however, the production team was able to make a movie that was just as magical, if not more. The visual effects team, led by Erik Nash and Christopher Townsend, did an excellent job in bringing Elliot, the dragon, to life.

The team had the challenging job of creating a creature that would stand up against other iconic dragons in movie history. The dragon began as a basic sketch, which was then rendered in computer-generated models.

The technical specifications for the CGI were exceptional, from the color and texture of Elliot’s scales to the movements of his wings. The design was modeled to allow for real-life movements and behaviors, which in turn made for a realistic performance.

The film’s production team capitalized on the beauty and majesty of the New Zealand wilderness to showcase the film’s setting. The movie was filmed in various natural environments, including Jurassic Park, the Taranaki region, and Mount Victoria.

The locations used were incredibly picturesque, with rugged mountain ranges, deep forests, and sparkling rivers that gave an authentic feel to the movie. The cinematographer, Bojan Bazelli, used light and shadow to create a convey an atmosphere that enhanced the movie’s magic.

He drew inspiration for some of the scenes from photographs in the book “The Window Seat: Scenes from the Air.”

The film’s reliance on live-action characters was a testament to the actors’ talents, who had to act alongside a CGI creature. Some of the outstanding performances came from Bryce Dallas Howard and Oakes Fegley, who played Grace and Pete, respectively.

The two had excellent on-screen chemistry and brought believability to their roles. Fegley gave an emotional performance, which was evident in the scene where he reunites with Elliot after being separated.

Howard’s character, a forest ranger, brought a compelling presence to the movie, and her efforts and understandingness towards Pete’s situation were quite touching.

The production team was also successful in maintaining the authenticity of the film by focusing on practical effects instead of relying solely on CGI.

The film had an actual animatronic for the dragon, which acted as a vital reference point for the other live-action characters. The team also built a model of the dragon’s head and used it to give the actors a tangible point of reference.

This aspect of production helped in grounding the movie to reality by creating a believable and relatable environment. The movie’s soundtrack featured songs composed by Daniel Hart, who provided music that perfectly suited the film’s magical content.

The score was complemented by soaring guitar themes that created a lovely soundscape for the movie. The use of music and sound effects helped to give the movie its distinctive feel.

In conclusion, the production team for Pete’s Dragon created a visually stunning film that echoed the message of the original story. The filmmakers integrated the use of live-action sequences and practical effects to deliver a fantastical and captivating environment.

The creative team developed an extraordinary display of scenes and drew out exceptional performances from the actors. The production of the movie was a real testament of dedication and hard work that made for an incredibly enchanting movie.

Pete’s Dragon was released on August 12, 2016, and premiered in the US at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. The film was released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner, which created a tremendous buzz and anticipation among moviegoers, particularly fans of the 1977 classic.

The film received positive reviews from critics as well as audiences and went on to gross over $143 million worldwide. The film’s release was accompanied by an effective marketing campaign that highlighted the film’s magical elements and emphasized how it was based on a beloved classic.

The promotional events included appearances by the cast and crew at public events, such as Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, where they showcased exclusive footage and discussed the production process. The film was released in various formats, including 3D, Imax, and standard definition.

The choice of formats had its greatest impact in visual effects, with the 3D version heightening the magic and wonder of the dragon. The wide release of the film was one of the biggest factors behind its financial success.

While the movie performed well in the box office, one factor that likely contributed to its success was its timing. The film was released in the summer, which is always a prime period for box-office hits.

It was also fortunate that the release date didn’t place it in direct competition with any similarly-natured fantasy movies. In addition, the release of the movie was aimed at drawing a wider audience as it was deliberately made more family-friendly and had a child-star lead actor.

Another factor that contributed to its victory was the positive reviews it garnered, which drew more viewers to the cinema. The film’s release was extended even after its theatrical run due to its commercial success laying the foundation for other formats beyond the big screen.

Within six months of its initial theatrical release, the film was available on DVD and Blu-ray. This allowed fans to enjoy the experience of the movie in the comfort of their own homes and added to the overall reach of the film.

One of the most significant conceptions following from the release of the movie was a potential for merchandise and franchising opportunities. While the film’s commercial success was clear, the participation of children may have spurred the demand for action figures and other related products.

This could have expanded the revenue of the movie in the long run, but the idea wasn’t pursued by the filmmakers. In conclusion, the release of Pete’s Dragon was a commercial and critical success.

The film’s release strategy was spot-on, which helped to garner high audience attention. The efficient marketing campaign, timely release period, and wider release formats added to the film’s box-office success.

The ability to release the movie in various formats was more convenient for various audiences, and the accessible home release enhanced the movie’s audience reach beyond the cinema. The release of the movie also marked a potential for expansion in franchising, which would leverage the film’s poignant success beyond its initial release.

The soundtrack to Pete’s Dragon plays a significant role in creating the film’s enchanted and mystical atmosphere. The score was composed by musician Daniel Hart, who provided an excellent selection of songs that perfectly complemented the film’s theme.

The soundtrack was released by Walt Disney Records on August 12, 2016, on the same day as the movie’s theatrical release.

The highlight of the soundtrack is the acoustic guitar-driven score, with tracks such as “An Adventure,” “Northwest Bound,” and “Plowing Camp,” featuring throughout the movie’s runtime.

These tracks are driven by a delicate melody that intensifies and complements the emotion conveyed on the screen. The use of acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars created a more organic sound that helped build the film’s ambience.

Hart’s score works seamlessly with the film’s visual composition, adding an emotive depth to the on-screen characters’ relationships and progressions. The music is especially impactful during the scene where the dragon, Elliot, separates from Pete.

Hart’s score effectively expresses the heartache of the moment and communicates it’s genuineness amidst the fantastical nature of the movie.

The movie also features two original songs that are sung by the actress and lead star, Bryce Dallas Howard.

Howard’s singing of the tracks “Something Wild” and “Nobody Knows” further enhanced the film’s message and magic. “Something Wild” was written by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness and co-written by Hart.

“Nobody Knows” was written by the film’s musical mastermind, Daniel Hart. The album even includes environmental soundtracks, making it an all-inclusive musical adventure.

The track “Reverie” is a good example of Hart’s sound design. Distinct environmental sounds like birdsong, crickets, and gentle waterfalls imbue music, giving it an earthy and magical quality.

The soundscapes used by Hart were taken from sound recordings found in regions of nature, giving the movie an authentic wilderness atmosphere. Despite being a fundamentally special soundtrack, it goes underappreciated, and while the songs are not commercial successes, they are beautifully composed and performed.

The acoustic guitar and other instruments carry the power of melodic nostalgia, and solely listening to the soundtrack is almost as intriguing as watching the movie. In conclusion, the soundtrack plays an essential role in giving the film its distinct emotional quality and supports its magical themes.

The combination of acoustic guitars, symphonic devices, and environment-based sounds makes Daniel Hart’s soundtrack to Pete’s Dragon a memorable and moving experience. The album’s composition stands on its own even outside of the film’s context.

It is a great example of how a soundtrack can elevate a movie’s emotional impact. In conclusion, Pete’s Dragon is a beautifully produced and moving family movie that explores the themes of friendship, family, and conservation.

The movie features fantastic performances, breathtaking visuals, and an enchanting soundtrack. Its creative storyline and delivery techniques create a heartwarming experience that will remain unforgettable.


Q: Is the movie suitable for children? A: Yes, the movie is rated PG and is suitable for the whole family.

Q: What themes are explored in the film? A: The film explores the themes of friendship, family, and conservation.

Q: Was there an original film version of Pete’s Dragon? A: Yes, the original film was released by Disney in 1977.

Q: Is the dragon in the film animated or computer-generated? A: The dragon in the movie is made using computer-generated imagery (CGI) technology.

Q: Who is the director of Pete’s Dragon? A: The film was directed by David Lowery.

Q: Was the soundtrack for Pete’s Dragon commercially successful? A: The soundtrack did not achieve commercial success, but it was still beautifully composed and performed.

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