The home video edition of the new and reimagined version of the 1977 film Pete’s Dragon is going to be a family tradition for years to come. This is a heartfelt film with a loveable, little (or not so little) dragon at its center.
The story begins when four-year-old Pete goes for an adventure with his parents, but when their car crashes the little guy is left alone. He wanders into the forest where he meets a dragon. “Are you going to eat me?” he asks. They become friends and he names the dragon Elliot. Soon they are inseparable.
Flash forward ten years and Pete (Oakes Fegley) and Elliot have made a great life together. But when the humans discover them, Elliot’s life is in danger. He is captured and it is up to Pete, Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), forest ranger Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), and 11-year-old Natalie (Oona Laurence) to help the friendly but frightened dragon escape.
Meacham is the only one in the town who has ever seen the dragon. It was thought to be a “tale” like the Loch Ness Monster, though Meacham knows better. He knows the dragon is not harmful. In fact, he feels it is “magic.”
The bonus features add a lot of insight into the making of this heartfelt film. There is a diary by director David Lowery, who describes his experiences during the production, which was done in New Zealand to add a touch of magic and a little larger-than-life feel to the forest. There are some deleted scenes and bloopers as well.
There is also a featurette all about creating Elliot. He is 24 feet tall and covered with individually placed hairs to make him furry. Acting with the dragon was no easy task. After all, he really wasn’t there, so the filmmakers improvised with a head on a pole and a blow-up dragon to give the actors some perspective as to where Elliot was in any given shot. Elliot, by the way, can make himself invisible, can fly, and can breathe fire. He looks menacing at times, but he has a heart of gold and a sweetness that makes everyone adore him — even those who had set out to capture him for posterity. It is his sweetness and caring that is at the heart of this story.
Writer/director Lowery reveals, “I look back on childhood as an adventure, and I wanted to capture that on screen in the smallest—but also the biggest—way.”
Coming out on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on November 29, Pete’s Dragon is a heartening and loveable story for the entire family.