Pete's Dragon (2016) - Rotten Tomatoes

Pete's Dragon (2016)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Pete's Dragon continues Disney's current live-action winning streak with an update that gives the original a visual overhaul without overwhelming its sweet, soulful charm.

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Movie Info

A reimagining of Disney's cherished family film, "Pete's Dragon" is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon. "Pete's Dragon" stars Bryce Dallas Howard ("Jurassic World"), Oakes Fegley ("This is Where I Leave You"), Wes Bentley ("The Hunger Games"), Karl Urban ("Star Trek"), Oona Laurence ("Southpaw") and Oscar (R) winner Robert Redford ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier"). The film, which is directed by David Lowery ("Ain't Them Bodies Saints"), is written by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field and produced by Jim Whitaker, p.g.a. ("The Finest Hours," "Friday Night Lights"), with Barrie M. Osborne ("The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Great Gatsby") serving as executive producer. For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) 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 (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales...until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). 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 Elliott. And from Pete's descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham's stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. Disney's "Pete's Dragon" opens in U.S. theaters on August 12, 2016.

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Cast

Isiah Whitlock Jr.
as Sheriff Gene Dentler
Steven Barr
as Deputy Smalls
Keegan Carr Fransch
as Doctor Marquez
Jade Valour
as Nurse Merriwether
Augustine Frizzell
as Mrs. Swanberg
Francis Biggs
as Mr. Swanberg
Jasper Putt
as Freckled Kid
Levi Alexander
as Young Pete
Jim McLarty
as Ranger Wentworth
Brandie Stephens
as Patient's Mom
Josephine Stephens
as Little Girl Patient
Tai McKenzie
as EMT Staffer
Tai Mackenzie
as EMT Staffer
Ian Harcourt
as Deputy West
Mia Thomas
as Jasmine
Olly Presling
as Billy Brown
Jenesis Au-Yeung
as Yeung-Julia
Fraser McLeod
as Millworker
Richard Falkner
as Millworker
David J. Muzzerall
as Citation Driver
Geoffrey Naylor
as School Bus Driver
Toby Halbrooks
as Unfortunate Ambulance Patient
Jade Healy
as Waitress
John Kassir
as Elliot Vocals
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News & Interviews for Pete's Dragon

Critic Reviews for Pete's Dragon

All Critics (210) | Top Critics (40)

It is, above all, gentle, sometimes to a fault.

August 25, 2016 | Full Review…

Pete's Dragon is one of those movies that talks a lot about magic-Robert Redford, the grandfatherly narrator whose "by and by" bookends the film, says the word at least seven times-rather than effectively presenting it on screen.

August 17, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

"Pete's Dragon" conjures the primordial power of fantasy itself.

August 12, 2016 | Full Review…

Picture the exec who said that scales might be too strange, as though asking kids to dream wasn't the point

August 12, 2016 | Rating: C | Full Review…
Top Critic

After half an hour or so of ... stutter steps, Pete's Dragon starts working on you, much like those gold standards of the boy-and-his-otherworldly-friend genre, E.T. and The Iron Giant.

August 12, 2016 | Full Review…

Pete's Dragon is a gentle, understated family adventure, one that feels notably unlike the simplistically sentimental product the Disney imprimatur might lead you to expect.

August 12, 2016 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Pete's Dragon

½

Oh boy! another live action remake/reboot type scenario from Disney, because that's what we want and need (ugh!). Well at least they took an old forgotten movie which wasn't really too good, because at least that makes some sense (glances at the movies in the queue awaiting their turn...I feel your pain, I really do). So the original 1977 movie was a musical with a classic cast and is commonly known to be Disney's attempt at riding on the coattails of its earlier success 'Mary Poppins'. Its at this point I will admit that I have never actually seen the 1977 movie of Peter and his dragon, so I cannot compare. Essentially I'm going into this franchise remake/reboot blind which makes a change, primarily because I can't rip this new version apart compared to the original (bugger). So the story goes like this. A young boy is orphaned when his family are involved in a car crash whilst driving though the forest, somewhere in the pacific north west I believe. Its at this point that the young Peter accidentally meets a mysterious dragon who decides to take Peter in and care for him, for some reason. Six years later and Peter is found by Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), a park ranger, her boyfriend Jack (Wes Bentley), Natalie (Oona Laurence), Jack's daughter, and Gavin (Karl Urban), Jack's brother. They take Peter in and try to care for him but naturally Peter has difficulties coping without Elliot (Peter named the dragon Elliot after a character in his favourite book). Eventually Elliot the dragon is discovered and captured by Gavin and his work colleges (after tricking Grace). So Grace, Natalie and Pete must help Elliot escape the authorities, long story short. So this movie isn't an original premise, in fact you could look at it as a complete rip-off of a few other genres and ideas. Firstly, this could so easily have been a Steven Spielberg movie, its basically 'E.T.' for Pete's sake (ahem). A young boy finds a mysterious creature, they make friends, they get discovered and the boy must help the creature evade the authorities. Not only that but this movie is set in the 80's, coincidence? The entire set up of this movie is your standard emotional ride with all the familiar beats that we've seen a million times before (usually with animals, aliens or whatever). Kid finds a family, unique friend is an added extra. Then you have the [i]Tarzan[/i] aspect of the film, yes that's right, Tarzan. The young Pete lives in the forest with Elliot the dragon. He runs around in just some ripped pants, no top, no socks, no shoes, long hair, barefoot, very grubby. Both he and Elliot leap, bound and fly around the forest without a care in the world. At no point do either of them ever get seen, even when flying through the skies in broad daylight and the fact there's a lumberjack work crew not so far away, but whatever. When young Pete comes across a young Natalie it might as well be a young Tarzan meeting a young Jane, literally. Its also weird how Pete has seemingly never ever thought about finding help after the car accident. Just ran off into the woods with a large mythical creature, who cares about my folks right. The funny thing is Elliot the dragon isn't really in the film all that much. He's there at the start when we get the Tarzan sequences and he's there for the climatic finale of course. But for much of the middle section Elliot is not around because we are dealing with Pete and his new family (Grace and Jack who find him). Is that a problem? no, it shouldn't be, but alas here I do think we needed to see more hijinks with Pete and Elliot. More actual fun happy moments of tomfoolery perhaps. The film looks great with its woody setting, small American as apple pie town (with 80's visage), and the cast act well, but again there are problems. There are too many big names here methinks. Bryce Dallas Howard is perfect as Grace the caring mother type. Wes Bentley is fine as the bearded outdoors father type. Oona Laurence is maybe too good as the daughter who befriends Pete because she simply doesn't act like a child. Dunno if Laurence is like this is reality but its like a mature woman trapped in a child's body, weird. Then you have Karl Urban as the brother who initially seems fine, then becomes the bad guy, but is then forgiven for everything it seems. Urban is too bigger name for this role if you ask me. Maybe they should have swapped Bentley and Urban around, have Urban as the father and Bentley as the brother/baddie (he has that look). But then on top of all that you have Robert Redford shoehorned in as Grace's father, the old man who knows about the dragon but no one believes (couldn't get more cliched if you tried). Bottom line there are too many characters and the movie can't decide which character you should be following. Considering the movies title is 'Pete's Dragon' you'd think it would focus completely on Pete, well no, no it doesn't. But that might be a good thing because the kid playing Pete (Oakes Fegley...Oakes??) isn't that good. His performance just isn't very compelling. He's always looking miserable, always pulling a scowling face and looks stupid with the wig. I never really got any kind of fun vibes from him. Elliot the dragon isn't the best looking dragon I've ever seen to be frank, but it does the job. Obviously the movie is supposed to be a serious take but at times it doesn't look that way with a daft looking, big green furry dragon that can become invisible. The plot is as old as the hills, its not exactly a fun filled film, its a tad dull, not enough dragon action and there are too many protagonists. OK OK look, this film is fine, its your standard emotional, heart-string tugger with lashings of your standard CGI fluff. Its completely and utterly as safe as houses for the family to watch, no doubt about that. I just think its too safe, literally paint by numbers.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Imagine tryin ta get a nap in the back seat of the family car while your brothers and sisters play with the family puppy in the seat next to you. That's what this film is like. And that's not a bad feeling.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Pete's Dragon develops into a sentimental bit of fluff. It certainly helps that young actor Oakes Fegley is extremely natural and the CGI creature is realistic as well. Elliot is not your typical dragon. Instead of scales he has fur. He can even disappear when he deems it necessary to hide from danger. He's also exceptionally loving and protective. Their relationship is not unlike that of a boy and his dog. It's this bond that forms the foundation of the drama. The two unquestionably have a warm rapport but it's a wispy premise on which to build an entire production. Oh sure once other humans discover Elliot, they threaten his safety, but you knew that was going to happen 20 minutes into this fantasy. Everything unfolds in a predictable fashion. This "boy meets pet" fable was released to near universal acclaim. I expected a saga with a much higher level of creativity. I liked Pete's Dragon, but I didn't love it. I really wanted to love it. fastfilmreviews.com

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

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