Features

"Pete's Dragon" is the pet we all wished for

Writer: Casey Chong



Elliot the dragon (voiced by John Kassir) and Pete (Oakes Fegley) in a scene from "Pete's Dragon".

At the time of writing, the live-action remake of "Pete's Dragon" has received critical acclaim from various movie critics.

Following the success of "The Jungle Book" this past April, Disney has no doubt found a successful formula in unearthing their own family-friendly classics and repackaging them into a shiny reboot filled with nostalgia and state-of-the-art special effects that appeal to both the old and new generation of moviegoers.

Directed by up-and-coming indie director, David Lowery ("Ain't Them Bodies Saints"), this USD65 million production is of course, based on the 1977 live-action/animation hybrid of the same name revolving around an orphaned boy, Pete (Oakes Fegley), befriending a green dragon he names Elliot (voiced by John Kassir).

With "Pete's Dragon" flying to cinemas this end of August, here are the five reasons why you should watch the live-action remake!

1. A timeless story

Bryce Dallas Howard and Oakes Fegley in a scene from "Pete's Dragon".

Although the 1977 original opened to mixed reactions upon its theatrical release, the Don Chaffey-directed "Pete's Dragon" went on to become a cult classic over the years. Almost 40 years since the original release, it is understandable why Disney choose to remake "Pete's Dragon" for today's generation. The premise alone is timeless enough, with several everlasting themes such as friendship, loyalty and family values, which are all touched upon in this movie. These themes are often relevant yet recognisable enough for a vast demographic.

2. A lifelike CGI dragon

The seamless special effect of Elliot the dragon in "Pete's Dragon".

Unlike the 1977 original which featured a hand-drawn animated dragon, this 2016 remake is blessed with a photo-realistic and seamless special effects to create Elliot the dragon. This is all made possible by the visual effects supervisor, Eric Saindon, and the rest of his talented crew from Weta Digital. In case you never heard of Weta Digital before, bear in mind that this is the New Zealand-based visual effects company founded by Peter Jackson that won Oscars for "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy, "King Kong" and "Avatar".

3. A promising newcomer

Oakes Fegley in "Pete's Dragon".

Besides Elliot the dragon, the central character would be Pete the orphaned boy himself. Played by 12-year-old Oakes Fegley, "Pete's Dragon" marks his biggest breakthrough for leading the cast in a feature film. Although Fegley isn't exactly a newcomer (he can be seen in several episodes of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and military drama "Fort Bliss"), he remains relatively unknown to the eyes of mainstream audiences. With "Pete's Dragon", Fegley's performance as Pete has already earned him numerous positive responses among many critics in the U.S.

4. An all-star supporting cast

Bryce Dallas Howard is the female lead of "Pete's Dragon".

Disney is no stranger for attracting A-list stars and screen veterans to appear in the studio's feature. Not surprisingly, "Pete's Dragon" features a trio of recognisable faces starting with Bryce Dallas Howard. Previously seen in last year's monster hit of "Jurassic World", Howard is cast as Grace Meacham, a forest ranger.


Robert Redford in "Pete's Dragon".

If that's not enough, the movie also includes screen legend Robert Redford, who plays Grace's father. Redford, of course, is known to today's generation for his role as Alexander Pierce in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014). But for most movie buffs, Redford has been acting since the 1960s. Some of his timeless classics include "Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid" (1969), "The Sting" (1973), "Three Days Of Condor" (1975) and "All The President's Men" (1976).


Karl Urban plays a hunter named Gavin.

Last but not least is Karl Urban who plays a hunter named Gavin and also the movie's villain. The New Zealand-born actor needs no introduction, especially since he was recently seen in "Star Trek Beyond" as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. He is also known for playing the iconic Judge Dredd in "Dredd" (2012).

5. Shot in real location

The lush forest set of "Pete's Dragon".

You might think that a movie featuring a boy and a CGI dragon must be shot entirely on green screen, right? Well, guess again. Thanks to director David Lowery, he insisted on creating a children's fantasy that feels real and magical at the same time. Thus enters New Zealand, the same preferred location used by Peter Jackson for his "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy to create the immersive world of Middle-Earth. In "Pete's Dragon", four New Zealand locations were chosen to fulfil the timeless setting of the movie. That included Redwoods Forest in Rotorua of Central North Island, Queenstown, Tapanui and Wellington.

"Pete's Dragon" opens in cinemas nationwide on 1 September 2016.

Cinema Online, 28 August 2016


Related Movies:
Pete's Dragon (01 Sep 2016)
The Jungle Book (07 Apr 2016)

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