Stars: Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley, Oona Laurence, Isiah Whitlock Jr..
Director: David Lowery
Screenplay: David Lowery & Toby Halbrooks.
Pete's Dragon is a very pretty film; from the New Zealand scenery, the 80s aesthetic, Elliot's beautiful fur, and the cast themselves. I could stare at the prettiness for a long time, I just wish the rest of the film could meet this beauty with an actual story. Sadly even if it has all the beats of a story it randomly lacks it.
Which is confusing because if we go through the checklist; meet Pete (Oakes Fegley) and his family, see Elliot taking in Pete, meeting the other main characters, set up the world, see Pete and Elliot's life in the woods, and then see how everybody's stories intersect. It is all there, but it just feels as though nothing happens...when so much actually happens.
To add to the confusion the characters are actually quite interesting, they have valid reasons to be in the plot be it the magic believer Meacham (Robert Redford), the rational woods lover Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), the Mill workers, Grace's fiancé Jack (Wes Bentley) and Gavin (Karl Urban), and Jack's daughter Natalie (Oona Laurence). They all have real storylines yet it still feels two dimensional and really their perspective within the story could have been lifted out without feeling as though we missed anything.
But maybe I am just thinking too hard for a kids movie. But when a movie is about magic there needs to be that feeling of it on screen. Instead we get a methodical plot that never sores higher than the page. Which is a real shame because this could have been something great as it has all the pieces to make a Disney classic.