Disney soars to nostalgic heights with Pete’s Dragon {Review}

Pete's Dragon

Pete's Dragon

It’s been such a fun summer of movies that have had roots to my childhood – and the newest Disney release is no different. I had the pleasure of taking A to an advance screening of a favourite childhood tale – Pete’s Dragon – and couldn’t wait to share Elliot with her. Growing up, everyone had an imaginary friend.. but what if that friend, wasn’t so imaginary? 


A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, Pete’s Dragon is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon. Pete’s Dragon stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”), Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”), Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (“Cedar Rapids”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). The film, which is directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”), is written by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a screenplay by Malcolm Marmorstein and produced by Jim Whitaker (“The Finest Hours,” “Friday Night Lights”), with Barrie M. Osborne (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Great Gatsby”) serving as executive producer.

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliot. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliot seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. Disney’s Pete’s Dragon opens in U.S. theaters on August 12, 2016.

Prior to the screening, I had seen a few trailers before other movies we had gone to see and A’s eyes always lit up when she saw the big green dragon, I wondered if the movie would be a little bit dark and scary for her and hummed and hawwed about taking her when it was released. When we were invited to a screening, along with Tamara from Discovering Parenthood, we decided to have the girls sit together, just in case one of them might have been a bit spooked.

I’m happy to report, that even in 3D, no spooking happened. A was mesmerized by Elliot and couldn’t stop asking questions about the woods, how he hides, where he lives, and why his friend Pete had a new family. She very warmly told me that she hoped if she ever got lost, that a nice Elliot would find her. Here’s hoping that never happens.

Though I found the movie a little bit long, I truly loved the build up of the characters and how many of the key story lines made it into the re-imagined film. I also loved the focus on the logging, going a bit “too deep” into the forest and the underlying message that the forest is special and full of magical creatures. Bryce Dallas Howards character Grace was a favourite of mine, a tree loving, forest stomping strong woman.

While there is a definite sad part in the movie, we didn’t find that this was a focal topic after the movie and instead turned our conversation to family, friends that are pretty much family and the love we should have for the forest.

We definitely recommend taking the family to see Pete’s Dragon, now in theatres. If possible, make sure to see it in 3D to see Elliot in his full, shiny green glory.

Pete's Dragon

Want to introduce Pete’s Dragon to the family before the movie? Click here to download some FREE colouring pages!

{Disclosure: We were invited to a prescreening of this movie in exchange for our review, all opinons and Disney loving craziness are our own. Happy watching!}

Tara Jensen
Tara is a parenting influencer based on the West Coast. With her full time career in health care, she focuses on green living, healthy family choices and encouraging families to live a fabulously frugal lifestyle. She lives on coffee, cuddles and post-its, generally in that order. When she isn’t working, she can be found outdoors exploring beautiful British Columbia with her family.