Pete’s Dragon Review Roundup… Disney Movie’s “Inherent Magic”

Pete’s Dragon soars into theaters Friday.

Whether the movie will take flight, however, is anyone’s guess. Box office analysts predict Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad will retain its No. 1 position in its second weekend, although Walt Disney Studios’ reimagining of its 1977 classic has the best chance of beating it. This weekend’s other new offerings include Bleecker Street’s Anthropoid(in limited release), 20th Century Fox’s Florence Foster Jenkins, CBS Films’ Hell or High Water and Columbia Pictures’ Sausage Party.

Audiences needn’t have seen the original Pete’s Dragon to enjoy director-writer David Lowery‘s adaptation. An orphan, Pete (Oakes Fegley), roams a forest with his dragon friend Elliot. He’s discovered by local townspeople, including a forest ranger named Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard). She reintroduces Pete to modern society and, as many adults would, initially dismisses the idea that dragons are real. (It doesn’t help that Elliott can turn invisible, and for Grace, seeing its believing). Grace’s father (Robert Redford), however, claims to have seen a dragon in his youth.

Pete’s Dragon also stars Wes Bentley, Oona Laurence and Karl Urban.

Pete's Dragon Review Roundup

• “Even though it sets aside the show tunes, Disney isn’t ruining any childhoods with its fresh new boy-meets-dragon team-up,” USA Today’s Brian Truitt writes, noting that Lowery “embraces a throwback nature by setting the simple and sweet tale in the ’70s-era Pacific Northwest but utilizes the most modern technology in crafting his gigantic, whimsical green star.” Like its predecessor,Pete’s Dragon “skews heavily kid-friendly,” though a dragon hunting scene “could bother” some children. But, “the movie knows what it is and embraces that rather than going for storytelling gymnastics or a greatly nuanced family adventure. All one needs to grasp is the hope and inherent magic of a kid and a dragon being BFFs, then let the feels flow from there.”

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