Film: Pete’s Dragon
Cast: Oakes Fegley, Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley, Oona Lawrence, Levi Alexander
Director: David Lowery
It’s interesting how the Biblical entity which is in eternal opposition to humankind has been transformed into a pet in Hollywood movies, too many to name. “Pete’s Dragon” is the latest in a list designed to warm the cockles of cynical hearts and Lowery’s fantasy adventure comes replete with action, tension and emotion fuelled by a star ensemble Oscar-winning cast.
However, the little star who steals our hearts is Pete (Oakes Fegley) who survives a horrendous accident and is adopted by the forest-dwelling (3D generated ) furry green creature that grunts most expressively. The story is narrated by a veteran woodcarver named Meacham (Redford) who has a story of his own: he had encountered a dragon (which may or may not have been the one that has been named Elliott by li’l orphan Pete).
A sense of déjà vu might sweep the spectator when s/he sees Pete and Elliot gambolling in the forest a la Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.” Never mind. Thou shalt not be disappointed. Not by the insightful sawal jawabs between characters or the heart-warming bonding between child and beast or the narrator Meacham or his only daughter Grace (Howard), or her (widowed) logger friend, Jack (Wes Bentley) and his smart-alecky daughter Natalie (Oona Laurence) or Jack’s brother Gavin (Urban) who is bent on capturing or killing the dragon, whichever comes first. Which is easier said than done.
No prizes for guessing how it all ends with environmental concerns and the importance of family thrown in for good measure. The icing on the cake is the delicious soundtrack of country songs.