Archive for August, 2016

Pete’s Dragon – Blends Emotion and Action with Friendship and Bravery

Friday, August 12th, 2016

This remake of Pete’s Dragon follows the adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley and more, this film truly appeals to a youth and family audience and makes a perfect family movie. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “Pete’s Dragon is a great film that perfectly blends emotion and action in a heartwarming adventure of friendship and bravery.” Gerry O. adds, “Over the years, special effects have gotten better, acting more emotional, camera techniques more unique, and stories so much more exciting. Pete’s Dragon is a perfect example of the progress in the world of filmmaking.” Ryan R. sums it up with, “What I enjoy about this film is the animation of Elliot. The CGI’s are very realistic, for example the look of the fur and the detail of his chipped tooth ate perfect.” See their full reviews below.

Pete’s Dragon
By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Pete’s Dragon is a great film that perfectly blends emotion and action in a heartwarming adventure of friendship and bravery. Directed by David Lowery, Pete’s Dragon follows Pete (Oakes Fegley), a young boy who after a car accident survives in the woods for six years with the help of his friend Elliot, a dragon. When a park ranger named Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) finds Pete, he reenters society and must try to find a way to fit in while also trying to protect Elliot.

I like most of the characters in this film, but my favorite character is Elliot the dragon because he always looks after Pete and always does what’s best for him. The film and the visual effects make Elliot into a character I really do care about. He’s also funny and makes me laugh several times throughout the movie.

I love the cinematography in Pete’s Dragon. There are some breathtaking, massive shots of the forest where Elliot and Pete live.  The special effects in this film are fantastic, too. Instead of using animation to create Elliot like in the original, he is entirely in CGI and the results look fantastically life-like. I recommend you see this in 3D, especially for the flight sequences. Seeing Pete and Elliot glide through the mountains is very cool.

This film really surprised me because, as a remake, it borrows almost nothing from its source material. I have to give credit to director David Lowery for creating this new story and world.

Most of the cast deliver great performances. Oakes Fegley excels in his role as Pete, especially considering this is one of his first roles and his co-star wasn’t really there during filming. The excellent Robert Redford is in the film as Grace’s dad. He tells how he once saw a dragon in the woods but Grace never believed him. I really like his character. He is kind and reminds his daughter of the importance of seeing more magic in life.

I like this film because, unlike some other recent Disney remakes, it doesn’t try to be darker than the original but creates a new story for a younger generation that the whole family can enjoy.

I give Pete’s Dragon an age rating of 5 to 12 for scenes of peril. There are two or three that could scare younger viewers. Pete’s Dragon will take you on an emotional journey filled with humor, adventure, and magic. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars.

Pete’s Dragon
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Over the years, special effects have gotten better, acting more emotional, camera techniques more unique, and stories so much more exciting. Pete’s Dragon is a perfect example of the progress in the world of filmmaking.

This film, at its core, is an adventure of two friends – a boy and his dragon. There is much more to offer though. Pete’s Dragon offers exciting and spectacular action, yet includes some comedy to keep things bright and highlight the complex relationship between a child and his big friend.

The story begins when a young boy named Pete (Oakes Fegly), age five, gets into a car accident and sadly, both his parents pass away. Pete is now stranded in the woods and everything changes when he meets a green dragon he names Elliot. They live happily together for six years until Pete is discovered by other people and now must make a huge decision. Should he live with Elliot in the woods or go live with humans?

Pete’s Dragon truly makes Elliot come to life. Not only is his skin and fur deeply detailed, his expressions look natural and the way he moves is very realistic. It makes you want to get a dragon of your own! The creators made it so we see the actors interacting with Elliot and hugging him, despite the fact that his image was added in post production. The CGI is seamless and makes you truly believe he is a real life dragon. The actors interacted with Elliot emotionally even though he isn’t actually there when they shot their scenes. What is equally impressive is that the young kids deliver a level of talent equal to adult actors. I also greatly enjoyed the cinematography. The scenes of Elliot flying through the clouds with Pete on his back and seeing the town, woods and mountains below are simply  spectacular.

My favorite scene is when Pete and Elliot play in the woods and are having a blast. I love this scene because it truly shows that no matter the difference of age, height or even species, they are best friends. I also enjoyed this scene because it shows the peaceful beauty of the forest and represents the fantastic visual effects they created for Elliot moving around the forest.

This movie is recommended for kids, but not too young kids. I recommend it to ages 6 to 18. Adults will enjoy it as well, but very young kids may find it a bit too intense at times. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars for its beautiful cinematography, spectacular acting and very realistic special effects. It’s in theaters now so, go check it out.

Pete’s Dragon
By: Ryan R, KIDS FIRST! Film Critics age 12

I liked watching Pete’s Dragon. I enjoyed watching this film because of its fantastic animations and great pacing. After a terrible car crash, Pete (Oakes Fegley) is the only survivor. He is found and raised by a dragon named Elliot in the woods. Elliot is a huge, green, compassionate and joyful dragon.  Six years later Pete is discovered by Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) a forest ranger who wonders how is he the woods by himself.  He says that he lives in the woods with a dragon. Grace sets out to investigate if  his story can be true. To find out what happens, you have to go see the movie.

What I enjoy about this film is the animation of Elliot. The CGI’s are very realistic, for example the look of the fur and the detail of his chipped tooth ate perfect.  This film makes it look like there is a real dragon in the woods.  The pacing of this film is great, it isn’t rushed, choppy or slow. I didn’t feel like I was watching a movie for an hour and a half.  This movie didn’t make me feel empty like other films I have seen. I additionally like the sets, the town looks beautiful.  Another thing, the cast performances are fantastic.  Robert Redford’s performance is superb, I enjoy his performance as Grace’s father. He is a great character and Oakes Fegley is amazing as Pete.  His performance shows a new side of this character that is different when compared to the original version.

The directing is well done. The director and writer (David Lowery) turned this remake into a fantastic piece.  The entire art department made the CGI’s great and I give them props for all their hard work.

However, one thing I didn’t like is that some scenes were predictable.  I knew how some scenes were going to turn out. I didn’t feel surprised when certain things happened in the film.  Besides that this film is great.

The moral of the film is just because someone or something is different, doesn’t make them a monster. When people see Elliot they immediately are afraid, they want to hunt him down and eventually want to use him.   Even though Elliot is very friendly, and compassionate dragon.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this to kids ages 6 to 18 and I think adults might like this as well. I also recommend this to people who like children, family, action and adventure movies. Make sure to see this film on Friday, August 12.   Coming to a theater near you, this movie won’t disappoint you.

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