It’s time for a film that really fell under the radar. It’s the kind of film that you knew was coming out soon, but would still end up missing it. I always forget that this film existed because nothing about it really stands out. It’s an okay film, but there are definitely some issues with it. They mainly all come back to the main character, which is expected. We have another kid lead and I just don’t think that he can hold his own film very well. The cast isn’t very good as a whole anyway though so I suppose that Pete doesn’t stand out in that regard.
Pete was raised in the forest after his parents were taken out during a car crash. He was raised by a dragon, but luckily still remembered enough of his humanity to still be able to speak in English. This setup worked for a while, but one day a park ranger noticed the kid and quickly brought him to the hospital. She sort of adopted him and naturally didn’t believe in the dragon. Pete wants to head back to the forest, but he’ll need to hurry since Elliot is really weak and the villagers want to nab him for bragging rights. It’s a race against time and Pete isn’t the fastest kid on the block.
Pete is actually worse than the kid from Jungle Book. Pete’s very annoying and takes way too long to make a move. He helps out Elliot, but after waiting for many hours and letting the dragon get stressed out. It’s also annoying that he is so young because it means that every conversation with him is a little grating. If he was older, then the dialogue would have been a lot more engaging. I think I’m just about done with jungle kid character types. They’ve been done to death already.
Elliot is a decent dragon, but he’s really weak as I mentioned before. He has some mild fire breath, which is used in one scene. Unfortunately, he doesn’t use it quite enough and Pete is always there to yell at Elliot to stop. Pete was a little unreasonable, but at least he helped to save the hunters. If Elliot had not been captured, that would have helped his case a great deal. Grace was one of the main supporting characters and I guess she was okay. At least she believed in the grand father’s tales in the end. I guess her character was just a little on the empty side though. She was supportive and around to help Pete, but you never got much of a read on her. The film just didn’t have much time to develop her personality. Likewise, Jack is played off as a villain for a little while before the roles completely switch and we find out that he is the hero. It’s just hard to see that though since he doesn’t seem to be a great boss and even when he helps out at the end, it’s rather half hearted.
Gavin is the main villain of the film. At first he was easily the best character in the film, but he went downhill fast. He got a little too obsessive with capturing the dragon and also became very unreasonable at the same time. Even once he was put in his place and saved during the bridge showdown, he still wanted to hunt the dragon. This is my main issue with the ending. Elliot is essentially forced to move away and fly with the dragons instead of living with Pete and the others. The reasoning for this is that the humans are just too tough and cannot be reasoned with. It’s essentially a defeat and that’s not a great ending. It could have been a lot worse though. At first, the film hints that Elliot will have to move far away and they’ll never see him again. Instead, he just moved up to the top mountain so they can still visit him from time to time. It’s an improvement, but certainly not the optimal ending if you ask me.
Natalie was a nice enough character. She helped Pete realize that humans aren’t all bad. It was tough for them to become friends though since the humans kept doing mean things to Elliot and then not caring enough to offer up a pretense. Natalie would have to try and defend them, but it wouldn’t work too well. She helped Pete save him in the end though so that was a good move. It’s just too bad that the rest of the village was so unrelenting, it made the whole place seem pretty mean spirited.
Well, that’s the cast in a nutshell. Certainly not the strongest bunch that I’ve ever seen. Aside from the lackluster cast, the film itself just wasn’t very good. Some of the scenes don’t even make that much sense as the kid lived in the forest for many years, but none of the rangers ever saw him. The dragon makes a lot of noise, but they evidently never noticed him either or the cave where the characters would hide. Grace even said multiple times that she knows the forest like the back of her hand and has been everywhere. Pete calmly takes them to the base and while it is a quick walk, Grace somehow never noticed it. It just doesn’t make any sense.
Beyond that, the writing is only okay. The film tries too hard to be cute and happy, but doesn’t offer up any real depth. The film doesn’t really drag on, but it’s just not all that fun either. Between the somber ending and the scenes of the humans picking on Elliot, it’s just not much of a feel good film. You’re better off checking out just about any of the other big animated movies like Finding Dory or Zootopia. It’s not a bad film, but Pete’s Dragon also doesn’t do many positive things either.
Overall, Pete’s Dragon is fairly bland. It follows a very obvious plot and ends without any sudden twists or turns. You can correctly guess everything that is about to happen. This may not bother you and it can still be an enjoyable experience, but it could have just been so much better. This trend of having main characters who are still kids is something that has definitely got to go. If there aren’t any other options available, check this film out. Otherwise, just go re watch Frozen. That film has emotional characters and a solid soundtrack so you will certainly not get bored. Now, if we get a sequel that takes place 10 years later and involves evil dragons showing up to claim revenge, I can get behind that. A little action would have gone a long way for this film.