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Pete’s Dragon movie director: David Lowery
Pete’s Dragon movie cast: Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford
Do not expect anyone to breathe fire in Pete’s Dragon. It’s that kind of a town, in that kind of a Disney film, in that kind of a remake.
The dragon doesn’t singe, it sneezes; it ain’t scaly, but furry; it isn’t reptilian, more leonine. It still does fly, but magically, it can also just disappear. When the dragon and a boy (Oakes Fegley) it adopted after his parents died in a car crash in the woods are discovered by the world, it reacts more with confusion than anger.
And yet, the dragon is the star with the widest range of emotions in this film. The rest just look upon it in wonder, and when he comes into their midst, with even more wonder.
There was scope here of telling the story of a town that changes when it manages to capture a dragon, but the film isn’t interested in it. There is a conservation message, but it is only feebly delivered by the consistently bright-eyed Bryce Dallas Howard. It’s left to Robert Redford to do the film a huge favour and appear as the grizzly man with advice such as “keeping eyes open” and “because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist”.
Golden words, but that this advice needs to be given at all says everything.