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CLIPS MOVIE REVIEW
by Roger Tennis

PETE'S DRAGON

PETE'S DRAGON movie

RATED PG (action, peril and brief language)

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes
DIRECTOR: David Lowery

STARS:
Oakes Fegley - Pete
Bryce Dallas Howard - Grace
Robert Redford - Meacham
Oona Laurence - Natalie
Wes Bentley - Jack
Karl Urban - Gavin

SYNOPSIS:
For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace, who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete. Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant green dragon named Elliot. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliot seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie, an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. - Walt Disney Pictures

ROG'S VIEWPOINT: 4 CAMS Camera Camera Camera Camera
In the tradition of Disney's best live-action features, this charming re-imagining is a grand family adventure. Missing is the magic of the endearing cartoon dragon in the 1977 classic. The new Elliot is a much more realistic furry green creature that, at times, appears fearsome. Also gone are the memorable songs. There are a few tunes, but this is not a musical like the original. Instead, director and co-writer David Lowery keeps the action moving while advancing the plot at an even pace. An excellent cast brings this story to life. Most of this film rests on the shoulders of capable young Oakes Fegley, who makes Pete's plight and relationship with a dragon believable. But he gets plenty of help from Bryce Dallas Howard as the determined Grace. Adding star power is Robert Redford, who takes another walk in the woods. Oona Laurence, noted for her heartbreaking role in "Southpaw", adds some depth to the 11-year-old girl who helps Pete. She is reminiscent of a young Natalie Wood (just a coincidence that her character name is Natalie). Personally, I would have welcomed more scenes with Wes Bentley and Karl Urban as brothers Jack and Gavin - but the story is not about them. An added treat is the stunning scenery of New Zealand, substituting for the Pacific Northwest, captured by cinematographer Bojan Bazelli, who seamlessly blends reality with fantasy. One downside is the dark 3D, but it could have been the screening conditions. Filled with thrills, laughter and tears, "Pete's Dragon" flies high.

 

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