Soaring into homes everywhere this month, Pete’s Dragon has captured hearts of children and adults. With a well written plot, beautiful soundtrack, and excellent acting talent, the fantasy movie has an artistic, cinematic quality. After noticing that the movie earned an 86% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I planned a family movie night to watch the Blu Ray and bonus material.
Pete’s Dragon Movie Review
Although the movie has a PG rating, it went over well with the entire family. From mom and dad (both of us have a background in studying film) to our three year old, everyone found something to enjoy. You can tell that the indie filmmaker and director David Lowery – whose other movies have played Sundance and won awards at AFI Dallas International Film Festival – has a strong background in creating visually captivating movies, while also appealing to children.
Not Your Typical Disney Movie
From the opening scene, you can see this isn’t a typical Disney movie. As the the boy Pete (played by Oakes Fegley) survives a car crash, it becomes a story not only of loss, but also of survival. In the local community, a legend exists of a dragon that everyone has heard of, but no one has seen. This dragon, Elliot, becomes Pete’s only friend, and they live in the wilderness together for many years. Elliot is a friendly dragon provides companionship in time of need. My daughters adored Elliot and they wished they had a nice dragon too.
With some sad themes and dark undertones, the movie also focuses on friendship as Pete learns how to discover a new family. Despite the adversity Pete faces, children will love the feel-good ending, beautiful scenery, and fun action scenes. Check out this clip from the bonus footage showing child actress Ooana Laurence’s work behind her action sequences.
Being brave is a central theme. As Pete goes on a successful quest for companionship, you see that even when you don’t think you can go on, you can do more than you think you can. Pete shows how capable we all can be when faced with hardships. I also enjoyed the idea that children are stronger than we realize.
Another interesting part of the plot is the forest as a symbol of childhood. When forest removal threatens Pete and the dragon’s hidden lifestyle, the trees represent imagination being done away with, as growing up becomes an inevitable reality.
With the Blu Ray, you can check out the bonus material. In Note to Self: A Director’s Diary, you learn about the journey of a filmmaker as well as the acting chops the children demonstrated by performing without the dragon being there on set. I enjoyed Making Magic, which showed how filmmakers created Elliot. With movements based on cats and dogs, Elliot is one of the most playful and child-friendly dragons I’ve seen.
In the bonus material, you can also view music videos. My favorite is “Nobody Knows” by the Lumineers. I love the simplicity that the Lumineers are known for in their music. From the thoughtful lyrics to the gorgeous instrumentals and the singers’s powerful voices, this song is a highlight of the soundtrack.
Free Activity Sheets
Check out 20 pages of printable activity sheets. This fun bundle will keep your children occupied for hours.
Click below for the free 20 page bundle. We loved the coloring pages, but there was a lot more in there too!
You can win a digital copy of Pete’s Dragon!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a free item, but it in no way influenced my opinion