Pete’s Dragon is out now on Blu-ray and DVD, and I don’t usually give my opinion at the beginning of the review, but, spoiler alert, this movie is amazing. I volunteered to review it for the Rotoscopers because I’d heard it was a great movie. I hadn’t seen it, but I was told it was one of the best live-action remakes that Disney has done so far. I know for some people that isn’t saying much, but I still expected to enjoy it. I just had no idea how much I’d love it.
Pete’s Dragon is magical. It’s wonderful. It’s beautiful. I watched this movie for the first time tonight in order to write this review, and it instantly became one of my favorite movies. I was actually texting people in the middle of the movie telling them we needed to watch it together as soon as possible, and after the movie I was texting more people to tell them how amazing it was.
Like the original film, Pete’s Dragon is the story of a little boy who was tragically orphaned and raised by a dragon. That’s about where the similarities end however, because this movie, unlike most other Disney remakes, is almost a completely new story. Gone are the ridiculous singing hillbillies and the snake oil salesman trying to make the dragon into medicine. This is not a silly musical at all, instead it’s a far more personal story that feels more like one of Disney’s live action dramas from the ’50s or ’60s. This movie feels so much more intimate than most of Disney’s recent movies, almost like an independent film rather than a big budget Hollywood feature.
Instead of being all over the place and goofy like the original, this version really focuses on the little boy and his dragon, who is more like a big flying dog than a chubby reptile. The original was fun, and while I know I really liked it as a kid, I don’t think it would hold quite the same appeal for me now as an adult. I haven’t watched it recently, but I’ve been told it does not hold up all that well. That won’t be a problem with this version however. This movie will appeal to kids and adults alike. It is funny, but not silly, it’s tragic, but doesn’t dwell on the sadness for too long, it’s heartwarming, exciting, joyful, and just plain amazing. I don’t want to give away too much for those of you who may not have seen it yet, but I cannot recommend this movie enough.
I would recommend this Blu-ray on the merits of the movie alone, but I know a lot of you are going to wonder about the bonus features too, and I will admit that they are pretty big for me too. I’ll buy movies I like with or without bonus features, but the ones with the best bonus features are always a cut above the rest. While this set doesn’t have any in-depth documentaries, there is a pretty decent selection of bonus features.
The first two things on the disc are behind the scenes featurettes. The first comes in the form of a diary written by the director, David Lowery. As he reads excerpts from his diary, footage from that day’s entry is shown. It’s a really unique and personal take on the regular behind the scenes featurette, which is fitting given the film’s unique and personal feel. The other featurette is a short piece on what went into bringing Elliot the dragon to life.
After that we have the obligatory outtakes and bloopers. These were always my favorite as a kid, and there are some good ones here. These are a bit short, but still fun.
Next we get an audio commentary. I haven’t had a chance to watch this one myself, but I am very much looking forward to it, as not only does it include the director, David Lowrey, along with his cowriter Toby Halbrooks, but it also features the film’s two chid stars Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence. These two kids were so good in the movie and I am really excited to hear them out of character.
Then we get two music videos, one for The Lumineers’ “Nobody Knows”, and the other for Lindsey Stirling’s “Something Wild”, featuring Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. Pete’s Dragon, while not a musical, did feature some really great music and these songs were no exception. Lindsey Stirling’s song was, in my opinion, the best one of all, but I could be a little biased. She has been one of my favorite artists for years, since before she was anywhere even close to famous, and I was ecstatic to hear she got to work on a Disney film. Her song did not disappoint, and the music video included here was very well done. I’ve actually watched it multiple times while writing this review.
Lastly we get a short featurette about the filming location of the movie called Welcome to New Zealand. It is really short, but it really features the beauty of the country. I’ve wanted to go to New Zealand ever since watching the behind the scenes documentaries about The Lord of the Rings films and, despite its shortness, this featurette totally rekindled that fire.
I think you know what I’m going to say. This movie is practically perfect. I loved it so much more than I expected to, and I could not more highly recommend that you go out and buy this film to own right now. It’s such a fantastic movie, and it’s a rare movie that the whole family can enjoy together.
Purchase: Pete’s Dragon
Have you seen Pete’s Dragon? What did you think of it? Will you be checking out this Blu-ray?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes