Dragons have been around in cinema for as long as kids and kids-at-heart today can remember. With computer-generated special effects and animatronics combined, these mythical creatures have become as lifelike as our imaginations with magnificent, if frightening, physical appearance and the personality to match – or not match depending on the movie.
A Friendship Born of Necessity
In Pete’s Dragon, the dragon isn’t the fearsome beast its kind is usually portrayed in films. Instead, Elliot is both a magical creature and huge animal- think medium-sized dinosaur – with a personality characterized by his intelligence, sensitivity, and playfulness. He has a consciousness that the audience can see whenever he looks Pete in the eyes, a far cry from the dragons in films like Reign of Fire.
According to a story, Pete and Elliot became lifelong friends when Pete’s parents were killed in an accident in the forest. When the terrified child was menaced by ferocious wolves soon after, Elliot appears and drives them away and saves him – and, thus, begin a parent-child relationship that eventually transforms into a lifelong friendship. Pete grows up to be a feral child but he’s as considerable, sweet and sensitive as can be given the circumstances but it’s hardly surprising as Elliot himself has these qualities.
A Story Within a Story
But is the legend of Pete and Elliot true? This is a question that’s on the minds of Grace, her fiancé and her child especially since it’s only Mr. Meacham, an old man, who has ever supposedly seen the dragon in person. In a small town, the believers and non-believers have drawn their lines with the adults usually on the latter side especially since the dragon has taken on the mythical qualities of Bigfoot.
But Grace finds Pete living in the forest, takes him to the hospital for treatment, and starts a series of events that makes townspeople question their own mortality and morality. Her young daughter, Oona, also befriends the dragon but, as with kids building relationships with magical creatures, it’s a more amicable one.
Is Pete’s Dragon worth watching in a Harkins theater? Yes, it is because it’s one of the few movies released in 2016 that has a heart and soul in it although its plot isn’t much of a stretch.
You will empathize with Pete and Elliot as they struggle against a judgmental and skeptical world, especially when you have had pets of your own in childhood. You will also love the realism of Elliot’s appearance, the gorgeous shots of the forest, and the deep friendship between the dragon and his human friend. What more can you ask for?